When my daughter was in elementary school, and I could still drive, I would occasionally check her out of school mid day. When asked on the checkout form “reason” I would always write “appointment”. The first time she was called out of school for her “appointment” she looked at me dumbfounded and said, “What appointment do I have?” She was only 7 so I told her I would tell her on the way to the car. We’d get outside and I would say, “You have an appointment toooooooo……ride horses!!!!!” Every time after that, if I ever randomly checked her out of school without letting her know that morning, she knew we were going on an adventure. I LOVED that! She LOVED that. Maybe every other month I would do this. An hour before school got out, I would check her out, and we would go everywhere, park, national park, museum, to ride horses, once to a primate sanctuary, once to a place where they let you make your own butter. Most often times we went to my friend’s farm and either fed, pet, or rode horses. She still, at age 20, laughs about how she had appointments to ride horses! We used to roll the windows down, put in our Rascal Flatts CD and sing very loudly at the red lights to entertain the other drivers.
This week marks the 3rd year my daughter has been ill. Yesterday I drove to the CVS that is 5 miles down the road. I have ventured out a few times in the last 3 months after not driving for 11 years, mostly to get my daughter out of the house as we just drive around the neighborhood with the windows down. After my muscle disease diagnosis I knew that while I could drive, it caused extreme pain, and hindered my ability to then take care of my family. It seems more important to suck up the pain, and get us out of the house, as of late, because the benefits way outweighs the pain. Yesterday, though, I drove to the CVS by myself. It was the middle of the day and I was so run down by the monotony of these last few years that I thought a drive to pick up something would snap me out of it. It is the first time I have driven alone in 11 years. I got to the CVS, with my windows down, and Rascal Flatts started playing on the radio.
I silently started to sob. I marveled at the fact that I could violently sob, body shaking all over, tears gushing, and make no audible sound. I sat there and cried for a very long time. I listened to Rascal Flatts and thought about how carefree we were, my daughter and I. Now I just sat in my car and cried. When I lifted my head, I rested it back on the seat. I watched people walking past and into the CVS as I cried there. I wished for a hand to reach in the window and pat me on the shoulder by any passerby. I wished I were noticed. I wished someone could know how much my heart was hurting. My legs felt weak from crying. I felt exhausted. I wondered how I would actually go into the CVS and get something. I couldn’t very well tell my daughter that I went there, had a cry breakdown, and drove home without the items I told her I’d get. I don’t pretend stoic all the time, but yesterday was not the day for her to deal with me as well as what she was going through. I felt all mush in my muscles and wondered how on earth I would go home and be able to now take care of her for the rest of the day. But, I stepped out of my car. The sun hit my face. Car after car after car drove by me and I just stood there with the sun heating up my face. I went in, was amazed at how many items a CVS has! It is the only store I can park right in front of and actually walk in without my scooter. They had a little bit of everything! I got some detergent just because I could!
When I walked back outside the sun was still beating down and I just stood at the front of my car, closed my eyes and faced the sun. I stood as long as my legs could stand. The sun, if you let it soak in, can really recharge your will. I made the drive home with my windows down, and sang Rascal Flatts all by myself.