Flat Anthony

Funny thing about kids, they grow up. We have 2 sons that are growing into such fine young men, we  are so proud of both of them. For Mother’s day a few years ago,our oldest gave me a pillowcase with his picture on it. Seems kind of funny, but I love it. I bring it with us when we travel.

We have been an RV family for about 6 years, and in that time we have traveled thousands of miles around the country. We have been from the Pacific to the Atlantic, summer and winter. Some of our favorite memories happened because of a chance to buy an old RV..As a parent, it has been rewarding to know that we have been able to give the gift of travel and love for our country to our boys.

Our oldest son is now 22 and, as a young man starting out, no longer has the time to take off for weeks or months at a time. When we travel now, I feel a sadness that he isn’t able to continue to share in our adventures. Our remedy? We call it Flat Anthony- the pillow with his picture on it.

Flat Anthony comes along with us whenever we travel, and this last trip, well, let’s just say he had some adventures.  How could we not take him along?

We didn’t want him to miss beach combing, or climbing on the rocks, the dune buggy ride, whale watching, 4th of July or the evening campfire watching the ships on the river.

It clearly isn’t the same as having him along with us, and I sometimes feel guilty having fun without him. We are so proud of all his accomplishments, and maybe some day, when he is older with a family of his own, he will remember his youthful trips and want to do the same with his family.

Coast to Coast

My husband came to me about 7 years ago, with the idea of buying an RV to travel from California to Michigan. He shared his idea with me that it would be so fun and what a great way to travel with our boys, one of whom is Autistic. Being the practical/skeptical one, I’m sure I looked at him as though he just fell off his rocker. We talked, ( he talked, I listened, intrigued by his idea ) and came to an agreement that it could work.

For the next few weeks, my wonderful husband scoured the paper and on-line in search of just the right RV. Finding what he thought was a good deal, he would call and talk to the owner, sometimes go look at them. When one would pass the initial scrutiny, we would all go take a look. It seemed there was always something not quite right for us. Too small, too big, too old, the smell of the previous owners perfume that lingered everywhere. I was beginning to think we both had fallen off our rocker.
Finally an rv with low mileage in our price range came up. Although it wasn’t real big, it seemed to have enough room for us, it was clean, and didn’t smell of perfume.  We decided that would be the one.  We bought it, and our adventures began.
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WE spent the next 5 years creating memories none of us will forget.,  some better than others, but all so special.  We traveled from coast to coast, visited National parks and local sights. Watched baseball at it’s all American pastime best, and drove on through the snowy night to reach the family’s home for Christmas Eve.  Each trip a story in itself, in total a collective memory  that binds our family together.

I think there is something about traveling that draws us in, takes hold of part of our soul and feeds it deep down, like a much-needed drink of water on a hot summer day. Once that first sip is taken, it seems there is no quenching that thirst. The thirst for adventure, knowledge, change, excitement, something other than the ordinary day-to-day.

We sold our RV   2 years ago, and since then we have  struggled with not having it.  Yes it was old and broke down at times, seemingly even sitting still, but it was ours.  We cherish those times, so much so that we are planning to  replace the RV with a new one.   A new set of adventures await us and we are excited to see where the road will take us next.  Stay tuned,  you never know what fun we may have

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Just A Note

My office happens to be across the street from the local high school; a fact both convenient ( for me) and potentially embarrassing ( I may show up at lunch and dance in the quad) for my son. There was  the time  I got a call, 10 minutes after school started,  ” this is the school nurse, your son is here, he hurt his shoulder”  A quick run across the street I found  him in pain in the nurses office. Realizing he needed to be seen at the Dr, a quick call to dad to bring the insurance card and off to the Dr he goes. diagnosis broken arm.  Seems the kids all took turns swinging off a post – his turn didn’t turn out so well.

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Sophomore year my son had early morning class and  I would drive him to school, run back home, finish getting ready myself then drive to work.  Fortunately we didn’t live too far and, as a parent, you do what needs to be done. When my son got his license he would ask me if he could use the car at lunch time.  The routine became- drive him to school, when I returned I would park in front of the school and walk across the street to my office leaving the car for him. One day I left a small note on the dash with some money for lunch, and a reminder to turn in the form he forgot.

As the days went on this routine became pretty regular and each day I would leave a note. Simple things: have a great day. I love you. Relax and do your best on today’s test.  Don’t forget to pick me up after work.   I never really knew if he actually read the notes. I would find them later in the side door pocket or the center console.   He never mentioned them. No matter, I kept leaving them.

One morning he drove me to work- he didn’t have early class that day- and as I got out he looked at me and asked ” where’s my note?”   I was surprised. I told him I didn’t think he even noticed them, except for the one’s that had money in them.  No, he said, I love your notes.   Ok, I will remember that.

After a few days it was becoming an issue of finding a piece of paper for the note, and then the note remains.  I happened upon a small notebook at the store and a new routine was born. img132

Each morning I would write the days note and leave it in the car or with the keys. Each morning he would read it.  I didn’t get a lot of feedback then, but I kept on, for over 2 years.  A positive comment, a quote I liked, an apology if needed.  Each day an offering, a connection, an affirmation that I love him.

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My son is now graduated and I no longer leave notes for him.  I miss that.  I do have the notebooks, and on occasion I will take a look. Reminders of how life was, how much I love my son, how proud I am  of him.  What started as a simple note became a very important part of our life.  Well, at least to me.

“The best inheritance a parent can give to his children is a few minutes of their time each day.””

M. Grundler

A.J.B  Ich liebe dich.