There are a few pre-baby things that I miss desperately that no one warned me about. This one snuck up on me: driving alone.
If you have never had a baby (or, worse yet, a toddler) you cannot appreciate the pure freedom and glory of driving alone. The bliss of just rolling down the highway with your music on and the windows down. Or, better yet, the privilege of being alone with your thoughts. No conversation and no technology...a true break from the day to day.
Sadly though, I never appreciated driving alone. I viewed driving, especially alone, as a burden. How I wish I knew then what I knew now.
Let me also explain that I never drive alone now. Although I work part time, it is a director at a daycare, so I bring my daughter to and from work with me. She literally goes everywhere with me. The side effect of that is that I either have "Elmo's Song" or "Old MacDonald" in my head at all times. God Forbid I try and listen to a normal, adult song on the radio and she starts to yell, which is only slightly worse than the 40th round of "Row Row Row Your Boat."
We spent last weekend vacationing with my husband's family in Asheville, NC, which is only a 3.5 hour drive from my house. My husband took off of work Thursday and Friday and wanted to leave on Thursday morning. My father-in-law was in town, and, being retired, was able to leave any time. By some grace of a higher being, I had to work that day (and, if you know me, that is rare because my work schedule gives a new meaning to flexible) and couldn't leave until 5 or 6. We were having this conversation at dinner one night and that is when it hit me: Holy S*^%, I could drive ALONE! No kids, no dog, no husband. That is when it was decided. Whether or not I had to work, I wasn't driving with my husband, toddler, or dog. Even if it turned out that I was able to leave work early, I would simply hide under my desk and wait it out so that I wouldn't arrive home in time to drive with anyone.
I know, I know, to those of you without kids, it sounds awful. What a selfish mother. Seriously though, I don't care. Driving alone was an amazing experience. As stupid as it sounds, I felt like I was able to reconnect with myself. If I had time alone at home (ha ha), I would have spent it cleaning or doing laundry. Being in the car truly allowed me to have 3.5 hours to myself.
I strongly considered driving from Virginia to North Carolina via Maine to extend my glorious free time, but thought that the 24 hour delay in my arrival time might raise a few eyebrows.
So, here is it, my advice to expecting and/or future moms: the next time you are in the car, just take a second and enjoy it. Listen to the radio or just your own thoughts because before you know it, you will think that a 3.5 hour drive alone is vacation.
"The pure bliss of a good car ride"
As a side note, I did bring my dog (pictured above on a different car ride) and I did start singing "Hickory Dickory Dock" at one point when passing Hickory, NC, but it was still a great trip. :)