Last Friday I did the 9 hour (one way) trek to visit my son in Iowa.
I am slowly surrendering to the fact that no matter what time I actually plan to leave, it's my destiny to hit downtown Kansas City sometime smack dab in the middle of either the morning rush hour or the evening rush hour. And I must say,their rush hour is NOTHING like the rush hour we experience in our city! On the way to Iowa, I though I had it timed to hit downtown Kansas City at 7 a.m.--my imagined "before rush hour" time.
I am apparently in harmony with at least a quarter of a million people who have the same delusion. Brilliant minds think alike? At least that's what I was thinking while coming to a complete standstill on I-35... Ok, in reality I was thinking "HOLY CRAP!!!" and "What the 'ell did I get my self into". Oh, and morning rush hour seems to be the time to meet the "Imperialist drivers". You know, the ones that want to conquer the same space you occupy as well as their lane...
A couple other thoughts came to mind too, but I'll spare you those.
However, as you can see, I lived to tell the tale. I think I've come to the conclusion that every hour is rush hour there, just some hours are worse. On the way back I hit downtown at 6:30p.m. and (no surprise) same story--except no lane conquerers this time thankfully. I'm sure eventually I will just get used to it and it won't phase me. HOPE..HOPE>>HOPE>> HOPE. This is the point where my relatives in Baltimore, Maryland would laugh and call me a wuss...
The trip to Iowa was beautiful this time. No mutant fog, no ice and no silly business on the roads. While I was there, I got to visit Muscatine, Coralville, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.
Love them all.
Apparently at the turn the century, Muscatine was the nation's leading producer of clam shell buttons. The clams were pulled from the Mississippi River that literally runs on the doorstep of the downtown. Every so often, I'm told the mighty Mississippi River throws a temper tantrum and tries to annex the land, which wreaks all kinds of havoc for the downtown, I'm sure.
Muscatine is full of HUGE Victorian homes, which I take as a testament to the once prosperous nature of the town. A lot of the homes have been lovingly restored, but there are also a lot of large homes begging for someone to take them and restored them to their former glory. I'll post a couple pictures in my next post. Since I love architecture and history, I was totally enraptured with this town. They have a really cute downtown with lots of historic buildings also. I had my oldest son with me, so you can guess how thrilled he was when I told him we were going to visit a yarn shop...Actually he was a good sport. Like my husband, the men in my family know resistance is futile when it comes to my yarn conquests. Any whining just makes the whole process longer.
In all, he was a good sport and we actually found yarn colors he liked at Crazy Cirl yarn shop for a pair of handknit socks. My oldest likes art, so he does appreciate the value of handwork. When the kids were young, I made sure they got their hands in a variety of arts and crafts so that they could have an outlet for self expression. Brandon really enjoys creating. While I was there I bought him supplies to make a mask for his wall and he created a really neat work of art that hangs in his dining area. I am planning to paint some Japanese Kanji paintings for his walls to bring with me on my next trip in March. He has a really cute apartment above one of the businesses in his little town that is perfect for one person. It made me happy to see that he is settled and has a safe place to live.
I think that is the hard part about parenting.
I know some people are able to just let them fly the nest and not give it a second thought, but I find that hard. I always worry that he has enough to eat (he does) and warm clothes (he does) and is safe (he is). That's just a Mom thing I guess. I think the hardest think about being a Mom is learning to step back and let them fly on their own. You want to be able to soften the blows and make life easy, but the reality is that if they don't figure out the hard landings by themselves, they can't grow and become adults.
It doesn't make it easier on me, but I'm working on that.