It was good, though. Typically, when I travel, there is someone waiting for me on the other end of the trip. This time, I planned it differently. I booked a hotel room for the first night of my trip, rather than staying with my friend, so that it wouldn't matter when we got here. The Man didn't come with us, so it was just the girls: me, my Middle Child, and my Small One. I looked at the route before we left, and thought about some things we might do along the way, and planned to throw out any thought of a direct route.
It went really well. We drove for about an hour, then stopped for breakfast. We never do that. We always grab food and shove it into our faces while flying down the highway. This time, we ate pancakes, and I taught Small how to play tic tac toe, and MC and I conversed.
After breakfast, we stopped, on a whim, at a place that advertised "Underground Boat Tours". It was, to put it mildly, super fantastic. We learned some history, and some geography, and heard some interesting Civil War era stories, then rode on a boat through a cave. Afterwards, we hiked about a mile, saw a beaver, and ended up at a butterfly habitat. The girls had a blast, and I was not even bothered that we spent about three hours there.
Even once we got back on the road, we were in no hurry. We picked up drinks and snacks at a grocery store, pulled off the road to take pictures of giant fake dinosaurs, and stopped for a sit-down dinner. We hit some traffic jams, too, but they were not particularly troublesome, since we had no timeline.
Meanwhile, we sang silly songs, and and talked about everything under the sun, and laughed. We made more plans for the summer. No one got grumpy, no one got argumentative, no one cried. The girls napped, I managed to keep from falling asleep.
Am I exhausted? Absolutely. But I'm incredibly glad we did it this way. I don't know how many more road trips I'll make with MC, and Small is growing not so small right before my eyes. Today, though, they were here, and I was here, and it was good.
And did I mention there were butterflies?