On Being Afraid to Drive*

I am currently curled up in the big blue arm chair at my parent’s house.

That might not seem like a big thing, but for me it kind of is. I haven’t really driven much since the pandemic began. I’ve driven to and from the grocery store for pickups these past few weeks (I was only doing deliveries initially) and have popped out for the odd errand, but mostly we’ve stayed close to home. We filled up our van for the first time since MARCH two weeks ago.

In all of this, I haven’t been on a big outing with just the kids. I haven’t really driven on a highway in months.

I’ve been really nervous to do it. I still have a lot of anxiety around COVID. It’s getting better, but it’s there. So I’m trying to do a few things to try and “reclaim” pieces that I feel like COVID stole.

This was one of them.

We are still in the middle of some home renos, and M had a few things to do that are just easier without three toads running underfoot. Sometimes they are a small distraction. Can you even imagine?

I had only seen my parents once since everything shut down, and I’ve missed them so much. They live over an hour away, so it’s a bit of a drive and the kids desperately wanted a sleepover… so I decided to make a weekend of it to give M some uninterrupted time to work.

In my head I had built up all these things that I had stressed over–what if the kids need to go to the bathroom while I’m on the highway? Are places even open? What if P has a meltdown in the car? Is it safe to have a sleepover?

(I’m still a little scarred by an AWFUL drive I once had when S was a baby. She had a COMPLETE meltdown in the car and I ended up in the parking lot of a mall off the highway in a not great area walking around with a screaming baby at twilight. It was not my favourite.)

Honestly I think in general I’m still nervous to dip a toe back into the world. And I had a lot of that wrapped up in driving anywhere alone with the kids.

But… I did it. We definitely hit HORRENDOUS traffic on the way here and extended our trip by over an hour, but we made it.

Not only did we survive, but it has been such a perfect day. I didn’t realize just how much the kids needed this.

How much I needed this.

Coming here has always been a bit of a sanctuary for me. I love Dad’s never ending roll of quips and “dad jokes”, served with a slice of fresh apple pie. Being around my mom is like a hug for my soul… I just feel better when I’m around her. She also lets me kick up my feet a bit and feel a little like I’m the kid again, which I appreciate more than I can say.

Today we went for a swim at my brother’s pool, did crafts, ate pie and launched stomp rockets in the field behind their house. We blew bubbles and made beautiful music with recorders (to my parents’ neighbours: I’m SO SORRY). We didn’t make any set plans and just enjoyed the day together.

It was a tiny slice of normal in all this chaos and I needed it SO MUCH.

I feel a little like I took something back today. I conquered something I’ve been really nervous to do.

I feel pretty good about that.

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