“Ummm, been on the PA turnpike for a while now. Still no gas stations…”
I’d promised my niece Jordan that I’d visit the new house sometime in October, so, with hours to spare, I put the twins in their carseats and left my driveway at 4:35 am on October 31st. I didn’t know a lot about Pittsburgh, other than it was in the far away part of Pennsylvania. Quick Google search told me: 1) Steelers fans are SERIOUS 2) the triangle shape of the city is because the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers come together to form the Ohio River and 3) in terms of possible sunshine received, Pittsburgh is similiar to Seattle for overcast and partly-cloudy days. My neice, an avid Twilight fan, was thrilled.
It was scary for me to be in charge of this trip. I printed two different ways to get there because my car’s navigator can be touchy. Not sure if anyone else notices, but she gets an edge to her voice when she says to make a u-turn and you don’t. Pretty soon she’s yelling and then silence, which I interpret to be sulking. I hoped that leaving early meant the twins would sleep – hard to pass crayons and play games while you’re trying to drive over mountains. And, of course, anyone who has one three-year-old can imagine doubling the number of potty breaks.
It was also really exhilerating to break out of the routine. There are so many rules and schedules, so many lists of equipment to take to hockey clinic, and re-scheduled soccer practice because of the rain, and when to administer chemo, and not to eat after 5pm because we’re having dinner, and house has to be tidied by 7pm when Mike gets home, and did you take a floride pill after brushing your teeth? We’re on well-water, you know!
So, I was excited to leave that behind. I imagined myself a plant with its roots all grown round and round being pulled out of its pot and given a good hard shake. Yes, some of the roots get broken, but the plant is healthier for growth being directed outwards.
My sister’s house is beautiful and she already has plans to make it more personal. Even better, we walked to main street and had coffee and went window shopping and meandered past Jeffrey and Jordan’s schools. That evening rain misted down, but we put on Halloween costumes and went trick-or-treating. I’m pretty sure that the twins will remember, but I know Jeffrey and Jordan will — and that is important to me as they grow up, already in middle and high school. I want there to be solid cousin memories that will bind and support them.
One evening we drove to the ‘Golden Triangle’ (downtown area between the two rivers) and had dinner at a dive featured on man vs. food. I put up a pretty good fight against my reuben with french fries ON it. We saw PPG place with it’s dark glass and crenelated roofline. By now the skating rink is probably open. Then we went to the overlook and took amazing nighttime pictures.
The visit flew by and then it was time for me to pack up and head to Wisp resort for the rest of the week. I am appreciative of the reminder that I can travel with kids, that I remembered taking Diana with me to Istanbul for two weeks when she was 5, that I’m not trapped inside my house and trapped in the family schedule that is ridiculously convoluted and demanding.