By 5:30 AM last Monday morning, I had already dropped Eden and Delilah off with my parents for the day and was on my way to San Luis Obispo for an 8:30 hearing. Such mornings are a mixed bag; I enjoy the break in work week monotony and the "alone time" that driving 6 hours in one day affords me, but I miss my hectic, nonstop, tiresome, and beloved morning with my little girls.
The whole world's changed since they were born. I'd made the trek from Bakersfield to San Luis Obispo dozens of times before May 3, 2014, but now I see everything so differently. Driving through the city in the early morning hours I could still hear Eden's voice, asking me about the traffic signals.
"Why did we stop?"
"You know why we stopped."
As I proceeded to the freeway, I imagined her asking, "Which way are we going?"
"North. We're going north, and then we'll go west."
Contrails of white exhaust streaked the sky, evidence of the planes passing too far away for us to see.
"Airplane! Momma, I see an airplane! Do you see it?" Imagine being so full of wonder that every plane is still so exciting.
Oil derrick pumps pepper the fields of Lost Hills, a small, aptly named town lying between Bakersfield and my destination that day.
"I see oil pumps! They suck the oil out of the ground like this: *slurp*! And then we turn the oil into gas to be fuel for our car so we can go." Alone in my car, I smiled with pride at my little girl's capacity to learn and retain information.
I switched the Sirius XM station to Channel 18, currently hosting a Beatles Channel for the summer. Thanks to one of her favorite children's shows, Beat Bugs, Eden can be heard singing along with no less than 10 Beatles songs, each hits long before she was born. "Good day Sunshine!"
Trucks and cars and motorcycles and I passed each other, and I snickered as I thought of Eden's characterization of every pickup truck as a "monster truck." She thinks "monster trucks" are beautiful.
On the side of the road I spotted five or six cows huddled under a lone tree. I wish Eden were really there with me to see them.
These days - travel days - are some of my longest. With the open road laid out before me, the whole world waits for me at home.