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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Day Date, part three

The drive is long, one hour and a half at least, something we would dread with Teale in the car. A long drive alone though is a welcome treat. We can talk without interruption, relax and I even grab the magazines that I never get to look at, for the ride. Teale likes to blast Justin Bieber or Camp Rock on the car stereo. Whenever she is in the car, she will push repeat the whole time if she is "stuck" on a song. So Mark and I have heard some songs repeatedly, literally hundreds of times. We are both very tolerant of such things with Teale, but sometimes I try to imagine how other parents might deal with this, if they could deal with it? It can get to me, the same song over and over again and very loud! If I touch the volume to take a cell call, it can turn into a battle, so generally I just survive the car trips with Teale these days, glad when we are at our destination. My point is, we never get to listen to music we enjoy anymore. Mark is a musician, he has been his whole life to one degree or another. He has strong musical tastes but over the years of being a Dad, he has rarely been able to enjoy listening to those favored artist of his. As we were leaving our house, I thought to say, grab some CD's. I was thrilled to have Mark be back in control of the music, something I know he misses and so do I. The drive would be at least half the fun on this beautiful fall day with good music and a chance to catch up with each other. We take the scenic route, driving the country roads and talking about memories of our lives. Sometimes we still find out surprising things about our childhoods. Growing up in the same small town, often our lives paralleled each other, even though we didn't officially meet until we were in our twenties. (to read our story of meeting each other ) Like there was a local restaurant owner not far from our home town that owned a lion, my family used to visit the lion just for the fun of it. As we drove past the remains of the restaurant, Mark remembers going there for dinner once, but surprisingly to me, only once. As a child my older siblings would buzz me out there just for something to do, maybe getting a soda and french fries at the restaurant, maybe just looking at the lion. It is funny how Mark and I had many of the same small town experiences and then other things I am surprised at that we didn't share. The drive is beautiful, the hills, although the fall leaves are mostly past peek, are still a sight to see. I am not a huge fan of fall, but that is the half empty glass part of me, fall means winter is fast approaching. Fall is a favorite season of many in Upstate New York, but spring is my favorite, with the promise of summer around the corner. I can't deny on this gorgeous fall day though that fall is an amazing time of year, the trees are vibrant with many colors rolling over the hills and the sun is shinning brightly. It is a perfect day for a day date and as I sit next to Mark, I feel blessed to have this time. We drive past the ski hill that many of our friends will soon be on as the cold winter is fast approaching. Neither of us are skiers, mostly because we both grew up with Mom's who struggled financially to keep our families afloat. Skiing was for those kids who had more money than our families did. Mark's Dad died suddenly when he was just two years old and as I said earlier, my parents separated and then divorced. Both of us grew up in a fairly affluent town, but neither of our families were in that higher tax bracket. I remember saying to Mark once that "I knew not to ask to go to ski club." and he said he felt the same way. I often think our growing up so similarly in the same town is a big part of what bonds us. I always yearned to ski, but the cost prevented that. Mark had the same desire and also wished to play ice hockey, a sport that costs much money also. We talk about "maybe someday" as we pass the hill. One of the values we share though is that always getting what you want, does not build the same strength and character in a person. If life had been handed to us easily as kids, wouldn't living with the many struggles and loses we experience now be so much more difficult? Might we have given up and walked away? I often wonder if God was preparing Mark and I to be Teale's parents. Our strength and loyalty has helped us persevere. Sure there are times both of us dream of running, but we would never actually do it. That's what makes day dates so important and special to both of us, it is the escape we need, without hurting anyone we are responsible for. As we pass one of the great lakes, we talk about memories of our times there, both together and before we met. Then we reach a small town that we have visited several times, we want to stop and go to the glen that we have hiked, but time restraints prevent us. The buses will bring the girls home and we must be there for their arrival. We are determined this time to get to our destination of Dr Franks Vineyard. We decide, if on the way home there is time, we'll stop. (to be continued)

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