“Take a night off,” he says. “Go somewhere.”
My plans to attend a bible study are thwarted by the fact that I don’t know anyone there except one, and I can’t reach her.
So I drive.
Silas is getting fussy in the backseat — yes he’s there because he’s always with me. A night off isn’t fully a night off.
We park in the Target parking lot. I slip into the backseat and spend the next 20 minutes nursing him and playing Words with Friends.
Then I decide to skip the trip to Target, where I’d just end up spending too much of the money that we don’t have.
I drive, again.
Hungry, because I forgot dinner in my rush to get to bible study on time, I waver between one fast food restaurant and another. I want a drive-thru because Silas is fussy again.
I contemplate just going home, however when I call Josh he convinces me that I need a break.
Maybe if I just drive more Silas will fall asleep.
In the drive-thru his cries go to 11. I can barely hear the woman through the speaker.
He cries as we wait. He cries as I get my food. He cries as we leave.
Remembering a local park with a view, I drive the dark streets, hoping he’ll sleep by the time we get there. Then I can eat and write.
As I pull into the park, all is silent and still. Heaving a deep sigh of relief, I begin.
Suddenly, he’s crying again.
Should I just go home? Will he calm down?
Is this really a break from it all?
At home there’s laundry to fold, dishes to do, tv to distract me. I was hoping for peace. I was hoping for a moment with God.
So I drive again.
Memories of high school come rushing back. Days and nights spent driving around, just to drive and think. A time before I worried about gas prices and the importance of not wasting a full tank.
A familiar calm descends on the car. Remembering once again how I used to talk, out loud, to God as I drove my circuit between high school, college, work and church. About my troubles, my dreams, my needs. My family and friends.
I pause in a parking lot, hoping to capture my fleeting thoughts. For five minutes I have quiet, and then he erupts again. The child who brings me back to present day.
So we drive some more.
He slowly returns to his peaceful sleep and I return to my thoughts.
Sorting, discarding, filing away like a giant mail pile.
The cries begin again.
Cries that are no longer soothed by the rhythm of the car. Cries that need a momma.
We head for home.
As I park the car, I notice that the fuel gauge has dropped to just above empty.
I too feel like I’m about to run dry.
As I walk in the door, he can tell I’m still weary.
Then I find what I really need.
A song played on the guitar; a new melody to old verses. A hug that lasts longer than necessary, not just a sign of affection but a moment of support. Conversation about nothing in particular.
In those few moments with the partner God gave me, my tank fills enough to keep me running a little longer.
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