Sixteen years ago, I took what I thought was a short journey. The drive from Venice to Sarasota didn't take long. We did have to make it twice, once Saturday night and, again, Sunday morning.
It was early Tuesday when I made my way home alone, and I do mean early! I made a lot of calls when I awoke later that day; the only thing my boss wanted to know was: "When are you coming in?" I didn't work for him very much longer.
It wasn't long before we were traveling to see family and friends, the beach and to the park. We made a special trip to one called "Service Club Park" and took a bunch of pictures. It was kind of special; you see, I designed it when I worked for the City of Venice.
There were some very long drives too; up to New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to see more friends and family. On one of those early trips, a late-night accident led to another drive - one to the hospital, quite late indeed. Such is the excitements of youth! Along those drives, we stopped to see the sights: Washington, the caverns of Virginia, the Shenandoah Valley, and countless other tourist spots.
The came a very important drive: our move to Orlando. Not so far in distance, yet a world away from what we were used to, and it was a bumpy ride - in oh so many ways. Still, we stayed our course, and the road evened out eventually.
Soon, there were drives to downtown Orlando, early in the morning, and I've never been a morning person. Yet, I never minded. There were a lot of talks on those drives, a lot of stories. I often thought of my dad on those drives; a lot of those stories were his. But, even those that weren't, they still carried his... spirit, and made me think of him. In years passed, he and I had traveled a great many miles together; over some of the bumpiest "roads" of our lives. At the time, some of those trips were disheartening and infuriating; full of twists and turns. Now, looking back, they were filled with words and stories, and shared times.
After a few more years of me doing the driving, I shifted to the passenger seat. Then there were fewer stories and more talks, and the subjects shifted from the simple joys of childhood to the fire and passion of adolescence. Soon, my presence in that passenger seat will no longer be needed. My child will move beyond childhood, and begin the voyage of her life.
Sixteen years ago this day, I took what I thought was a short journey. That first day, my daughter stretched from my elbow to the tips of my fingers. How long does it take to get from that to adulthood? In some ways, as brief as the blink of an eye; and in others, it'll take a lifetime.
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Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.
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