GRR to STL

On June 3rd, my Rylie and I are hopping the Amtrak from Grand Rapids to St. Louis.  I’ve not told her yet.  She might absolutely lose her mind with excitement.  I may never tell her.

In St. Louis, my aunt will pick us up (AUNT REGINA, DON’T FORGET TO PICK US UP.) and we’ll head across the swollen Mississippi River to her very familiar home.

The next morning, my parents will walk through the door and my Rylie will forget who I am.  I’ll leave Sunday morning to head back to GRR while my parents hit the road with Ry for Tejas.  Exactly one month later, we’ll all meet in Pittsburgh for a family reunion and I will have to pry Ry out of the Sebeck truck to drag her back to Michigan.

My parents are amazing grandparents.  Mom is a 2nd grade teacher (thus, off for the summer), Dad is retired military and now works at home as a mechanic.  They have goats and tractors and pools and tents and puppies and horses and harmonicas.  There is ice cream in the freezer and M&Ms in the cupboard.  The kid has got some serious Summer fun ahead of her.

I’ve arranged for in-home speech therapy 3 times per week and my parents have found a local hippotherapy riding ring where Ry can continue her vestibular work while she’s away.  My parents have taken Rylie for extended vacations over holidays since she was born.  We talk to them by skype and phone multiple times a day.  We’ve all spent weeks’ worth of time in the car together travelling.  We are not strangers.  In fact, I’m not sure Rylie understands that we actually live 1,000 miles apart.

This is the ONLY instance I would consider being in different cities with my girl.  Her apraxia makes her expressively young, but internally I believe she has an incredibly old soul.  She is social-savvy, she is independent, she is charming.  It likely she has more friends than I do.  And my parents know her well.  The little things they DON’T know?  Well, maybe they don’t need to know.  Maybe she doesn’t need to come with a 4-page letter of instructions, warnings, and tips.  Maybe- just for a minute– I need to not be her mom/advocate/interpreter 24 hours a day and she needs to just be a grandkid on the farm.

This will be our longest adventure apart by far… it’s just how it worked out logistically.  I’ve no doubt I will suffer more than the child.  Actually, I think the the first week will be fun.  Less driving.  Quieter dinners.  Less emotional outbursts when socks are not appropriately applied to feet.  One less carseat to unbuckle.  The start of the second week will be a little weird, and then by Days 12, 13, & 14, I will likely spend a lot of time sitting on her bedroom floor crying because I am lonely and without purpose.  The end. 

Gus Man is going to be so incredibly sick of me by July, bless his little heart.

Do you remember you first big trip away from Mom & Dad?  

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

32 responses to “GRR to STL

  • Jessica

    Mine wasnt until girl scout camp.I dont even remember how old I was. I do remember it rained, a lot. Cortney and I went together. I am pretty sure I was a complete mess all week. Cortney and a little Pound Puppy somebody had were all I can remember getting me through it!

    I have always thought you were one of the bravest mom’s I know. I love your courage. I love how much Rylie Joy loves to go to your parents farm. that is so stinkin’ awesome. I pray the month will go by fast for mama’s sake!

  • susannah

    um. WOW. what an adventure for everyone! she is going to have an amazing time. and then she is going to be thrilled to be home again.

    we lived in iowa and then ontario growing up, and each summer, we hit the road or the air for a visit to grandma’s in california. they started out by leaving us there for a few extra days. then a week. then weeks. and when i was seven, my brother (four) and i hopped on a plane by ourselves for the first time. i’m gonna say that it was a less scary world perhaps? i remember being terrified and excited, and i didn’t want to eat for days. but i’m ever so grateful that they pushed me out of my comfort zone and instilled a love for adventure in me 🙂

    • texasnorth

      A plane!!! Wow. Wow. Wow. That is so fatastic. Completely impossible these days, but fantastic.

      My parents have been hinting about this trip since the child was born and I keep saying, UM… SHE’S ONE (TWO) (THREE) (FOUR). Plus, HOW IN THE WORLD would I get her there (un-alone) and without it costing 14 hundred dollars? I backed down slightly months ago and they jumped on it.

      Thank goodness for technology!

  • Anna

    The week each summer I got to spend alone with my grandparents, just me, not my siblings, make up some of my favorite memories of them. And it’s not big events, just lots of popsicles, and pool time, and cartoons with them.

    On a different subject, if Rylie needs a playdate (say, at the Whistle Stop park, maybe) I’m available starting the first week in June. 🙂

    • texasnorth

      Um, yes. I am sure SURE she would love a playdate.

      Which makes me kind of sad… because you and I used to have all summer to cruise around the county… and now you’ll be with my Little. So awesome. And, weird 😉

      • Anna

        I’m looking forward to hearing how the train thing goes. If it’s good, maybe there can be some more train trips between Texas and Michigan. 🙂

  • Nancy Lee

    OMG…You will be in STL and I just might have to meet your train and wave at you!! lol
    Darn…I just realized it’s a Friday and we always head out to the other house that day… DANG IT!! Have a great time in my neck of the woods…

  • esteph

    Ike would be BESIDE himself about riding a train. I’m pretty sure I would not tell him until we were stepping onto the platform. It would be really hard to be away from him for so long… but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t miss me one bit. I remember loving staying with my grandparents. They lived out on the lake. What gets better than that? love you friend!!

  • Miss Laura

    I went to Orlando with my grandparents for three weeks when I was 7. I had cousins my age down there to play with, and Disney World, and Sea World, and the OCEAN, and I tell you, those lemon drops they kept in the glove box were a serious secret weapon. Can’t even imagine what it will be like for you to be separated from Ry that long. She sure is a lucky girl to be so well-traveled and well-grandparented, though.

    If you need company when you’re laying on the floor crying, I’d be happy to help. I’ll bring the Dr. Pepper.

  • tumbledweeds

    I love that you are letting go of control – to NOT send her with a four page letter of detailed instructions. That would be so hard for me, but so right. You are both brave for the adventure.

  • Jim

    To bad you can’t stop of Zingermans to get food for the trip. That what my girls do as they head for Chicago.
    She will have the memories forever from this trip. Hope you survive.

  • Kim Aguilar

    Way to go! I wanted to let my brother and sis-in-law have Clark for a week, but Jose didn’t agree that it would be a fabulous thing for us. I wish my parents were in the country…

    And, my first trip was when I was 13, I think. Went by plane to California to visit my friend Kenna. It was grand. 🙂

  • HopefulLeigh

    I have such good memories staying with my grandparents for a week on their farm. One year Grandpa let me drive the tractor (when I was in 4th grade!). This is when Grandma taught me how to sew and furthered my culinary knowledge.

    How wonderful for Rylie! And how wonderful for you to intentionally give her this typical grandkid experience.

  • Aunt Regina

    I will be there with “Bells” on…….I can’t wait til Rylie and I can swing in the hammock.

  • MC

    Oh yes, I remember. I went to camp at the end of second grade. Okay, well, apparently I flew home from Zaire, Africa with family friends and spent two weeks with various family members on my own…but I don’t remember that. I must have been fine. But camp for the first time was a whole different story. I was low on my cool scale for sure. Rylie is going to have so much fun! Grandparents are the BEST!

  • LoLo

    I was 5 and my parents took me to DFW airport and put me on a plane bound for Las Vegas (YES, I said Las Vegas!!) I got a plastic wing pin and my very own stewardess (that’s what they were called back then) and I used up all my film taking pictures of clouds out the airplane window. I was greeted by my aunt, uncle, and very ecstatic cousin in LV and we then proceeded to travel for the part of the summer in their RV along the west coast. We went to Grand Canyon, Disney Land, San Diego Zoo, into Mexico (where I saw my 1st homeless person living under a bridge – still remember vividly). I don’t remember thinking of my parents once. I saw more places that summer than the entire rest of my childhood!
    I remember looking at Grant last summer and realizing that he was the same age as I was then. I immediately picked up the phone and called my mom and gave her the “WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!!!” speech. She replied with, “Honey, you just didn’t think about those things back then.”

  • juliemooreonlife

    My first big trip away from home was not until I married at 17 and we moved to Kentucky, then Germany. Being as I had never been away from my parents those year long moves were no easy for me. It’s great Ry is traveling at such a young age and your parents are such wonderful grandparents.

    • texasnorth

      Julie, I moved from Kentucky to Germany, too! But not as a newlywed… I am sure that was quite a life change for you! We spent 10 years in Germany as a military family when I was young. It WAS hard to be away from extended family. I think that’s why I push really hard for Ry to see family that is far away.

  • Margie

    WOW. Your parents are AWESOME. Loved what you said about being lonely and without purpose; have been feeling a little that way, lately, as if it’s finally dawned on me that Big Kid School is in session. But it ends in 2 weeks, so this sad interruption won’t last long.

    My first Big Trip was to Colorado with my grandparents for a week when I was 9. So memorable that I remember the rose-decorated wallpaper pattern in my bedroom in the beautiful house in Evergreen.

    So. This morning the lock-out session on my blog came to an end. No virus; just some weird tweaky glitch with Explorer. I can sleep tonight.

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