Three and a half hours of road stands between my house and where I grew up. I used to feel like I had memorized every bump in the road from driving that route so many times. My driving home routine was nearly seamless- something I had perfected.
1. I can sip my coffee on the drive down, but not beforehand to avoid needing a rest stop.
2. 1 full water bottle will do, but don’t plan on drinking it until close to the end.
3. Snacks are a necessity- begin eating about an hour and 15 minutes in.
4. Take note of where I can stop to use the bathroom if absolutely necessary. Until then, blast music on my driving playlist to distract myself as long as possible.
Today I opened my sleepy eyes to the sight of familiar exit signs. Out of curiosity, I searched on Maps how far we were from my hometown- 25 minutes. I’ve done this drive so many times that it should be nothing to me by now. But on this day, it felt a little different. We were just driving by. Just driving by. How do you just drive by the place that raised you and holds 20+ years of memories?
I could feel my heart pull as we continued on. I started to think about how far I was from specific people and places… what are they up to right now? What if I just showed up? But things are very different now- this place isn’t my home anymore. Instead, it’s a distant memory that I’ll always keep close. As we continued on our drive, I closed my eyes once more and let the bumps of the road rock me back to sleep.