The kids were safely buckled in their car seats. In the front, tucked behind my feet, was a bag filled with muffins, sandwiches, water bottles, and fruit. The diaper bag was stocked and we had toys to keep the girls occupied on the long drive.
My husband climbed into the car and looked at me.
“So, where do you want to go?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” I finally replied. “Either north or south.” I sat for a moment and savoured the pull of the open road, the fact that a whole day stretched in front of us in which we could go anywhere and do anything.
We flipped a coin and headed south.
We wound our way along the shores of Lake Erie through vast tracts of farmland and tiny port towns – stopping to explore marinas and watch gulls. We detoured to out-of-the-way historical landmarks that were nestled amongst orchards and berry fields. We pulled over at a roadside stand and bought some plump, crimson strawberries and deep red cherries. They melted in my mouth, their sweetness trickling down my throat.
At one point, we drove along a causeway, a narrow road with the lake on one side and a seemingly endless marsh on the other. We turned into a small parking lot, got out of the car, and stretched. A creaky gate led into the marsh. I pushed it open and discovered a path that meandered through the tall reeds. We followed it, the afternoon sun warm on our heads. It was glorious – a secret world filled with the trill of birds, the guttural voices of deep-throated frogs, and the whir of dragonfly wings.
We got back in the car and continued on. Pioneer cemeteries, an old grist mill, a peanut farm – we stumbled upon some of the neatest things. It was an amazing day.
Our road trip yesterday reminded me of my own childhood. Many times, I sat in the backseat with my sisters and listened to the hum of the car as it sped through fields and over mountains, along oceans and through forests. My Mom always sat in the front with the map open on her lap, my Dad behind the wheel. I treasure those memories.
My husband and I want to ensure that our children, too, will have a legacy of beautiful moments to treasure. So, every now and then, we pack the family into the car and go wherever the road takes us. And we create memories that all of us will forever hold close.