Road Trip 2020-Corona Style

“Best friends don’t necessarily have to talk every day. They don’t even need to talk for weeks. But when they do, it’s like they never stopped talking.”

Unknown

Last summer, less than a week after visiting family in the Texas Panhandle, my former college roommate called for a chat. We have the sort of friendship where we go long stretches of time without calling each other only to wind up on hours long phone calls to catch up. With social media, we keep up here and there, but it isn’t the same as an actual conversation with periodic interruptions from spouses, kids, or barking dogs.

“What are you doing?” she asks.

“Michele!” my giddy self shouts.

Laughter follows and we catch up. This is how we always start. On a whim, she needs a break and wants to visit her sister who happens to live in the same town as my parents. With my husband working from home and the kids old enough to need supervision, but independent enough to keep themselves busy, I accept. A birthday gift from me to me, myself, and I. I’d hang out with my parents again, get more time with my sisters, and have much needed bff time.

It’s a good seven to eight hour drive for me. Coming in from the Houston area, it’s a longer drive for her. We agreed she’d make a pit stop here, we’d have a sleepover, and we’d be on our way in the morning. And off we went, in the 111 degree Texas summer heat, perfect for road tripping. Queen blasting on the radio, we reverted back to our college selves.

It’s so hot!

We were finally taking a proper road trip. We had money, actual real money! Our summers in college meant we went back home and worked a fast food stint so our families wouldn’t drive us crazy. Plus, you know, tuition and books. The summer after our freshman year, we both got jobs on campus working the summer camps for the high school kids. We didn’t have a proper summer vacation because we were broke. We didn’t even own cars. So this is how it feels to go on a summer road trip with a bestie.

We only stopped for bathroom breaks and poked around in a Wal-Mart stocking up on hand sanitizer and snacks. No one ever outgrows road trip snacks. We talked non-stop all the way to our destination. Non. Stop. We laughed so hard we cried and re-lived hilarious memories and stopped cold when we understood things we thought we knew but didn’t know at the time, especially the part about understanding how broke we really were. And here we are.

My sisters have adopted her as a sister as well. We learned more about each other on that trip, things we thought we already knew. Deeper insights, but with more maturity. On our way back home, we stopped by our campus. I only spent two years there before transferring to The University of Texas. It looked the same, but different. We pulled into a parking spot in front of Stafford Hall, minus the Stafford Hall. It’s gone now, and in its place is a parking lot. The fine arts building grew. The cafeteria still stands and we reminisced about all those Belgian waffles we ate for dinner, long Saturdays of sleeping in, but setting the alarm so we wouldn’t miss lunch that day.

Life was easier then, but it wasn’t. It’s easier now, but it isn’t. We could’ve gone anywhere, but our time in the car was what counted most. What we needed most. What we still need.

Tuesday, July 19, 2021

‘Tween Momming from the Car

SOLSC Day 16

The place is a “bakery boutique.” I look for the address then poke around their online space. Macarons. I’ve never had one. Maybe I’ll eat one today. Frozen coffee drinks. Boba tea. Smoothies. Fancy cakes for special occasions we aren’t celebrating any time soon. I peruse the menu before we leave to prepare S. with options for today’s, what do you even call it? ‘Tween date? Hangout? Meeting with a friend? I don’t dare call it a playdate because that’s for little kids. Eleven is way too old for a play date.

We arrive and walk toward the bakery, her friend waiting near an outdoor table. Ready to enter and pay for her order, S’s friend interrupts, her giddy personality bubbling from her grin. “You made it! My mom gave me money for us to have treats. She’s in the car.” Okay. I thank her and S. bounces a little, trying to contain her excitement. They walk in. I return to the car.

There’s a liquor store on one side of the parking lot. Should I take a look? I decide against it in case S. returns for more money or something else. I don’t dare go back to casually say she can find me in the liquor store. I don’t want to make an irresponsible adult impression. I also don’t want to embarrass S. Those reprimands are never fun.

My Chiquita Bonita Banana de Mamí, Missy Lou, Fia Mia, Noodle, Oosey-Goosey child is growing up. I’m lucky if she lets me call her any of those names now, outgrown almost as soon as she kicked her feet free out of that infant swaddle. It seems that her feet have always been ahead of her. I snap a picture. Seriously? I’m snapping a picture of my kid hanging out with her new bff.

I roll down the windows and sit in the car, the steering wheel a makeshift desk for my journal. I need a mom-ervention, a sister-vention. I switch between journaling and pinging text messages to my sisters, each one interrupting the other conversation. I send the picture.





Awww...
It gets worse Cat.
Those boba teas are 👎🏼




Sorry to say, it does get worse!  I would've gotten a slushie instead.
I feel like the paparazzi.  S. got invited to hang out with a friend at a little bakery boba tea place.  My pingüilla is a middle schooler who doesn't want to hang out with me.  😩😩😩




She probably hates it lol! 😂  I'm not sure what she ordered.



She's been glued to my side through about the end of fourth grade.  She still falls asleep in my bed.  E is always in his room.  They come around when it's convenient.  Like when they need food or a ride to a boba tea place.

I write a little. Ping a little. Watch a little. It rained earlier. The tables and chairs are still wet. Bff takes off a black hoodie and wipes down the table and chairs. They sip. Laugh. S. waves to see if I’m watching. I am. I wave back. Shrugs her shoulders. Back to the bff. Takes a sip. I don’t think she liked the drink she ordered. They both keep shaking their hands free from what seems to be condensation transferred from their drink cups. Neither one goes back in to ask for napkins. As much as I want to, I don’t swoop in to suggest it either.

Bff’s mom strides toward them. They all go inside. Ah, looks like that mom is swooping in to ask for napkins. Nope. Bff’s mom walks out with a drink. S and bff return to the table. Looks like more giggles and a few minutes later, they both rise and part ways.

S. returns to the car. “I got a macaron! Here, have some.” I take the piece she offers. Delicious.