Invariably, when we described our plans to travel cross-country by car with our dog to visit The Beloved’s folks for Christmas, the typical response was, “Why on Earth would you do such a thing?”
Well, in the summer, we’d told her folks that we were going to come and then we had to figure out what to do about Penny. We could kennel her, but for a week-plus, that seemed pretty harsh. We could have pet-sitters come during the day, but that would be pretty lonely after a couple of days. We could have someone stay at our house while we were gone, but who wants to do that over Christmas?
So, one day we were walking the dog and talking about the possibilities and rationales and someone said, “We could drive.” And as preposterous as it first sounded, the positives began to pile up. No kennel for Penny. No imposition for our friends. We like road trips and her dad (who likes dogs) said that he’d really like to meet Penny. The Beloved was furloughed for the last week of the year and my new endeavor (more on that sometime soon) was not in full gear. So, road trip it was.
Our trip was good and we had a good Christmas with her folks and afterward with her brother and his family when they visited. On the day before we were due to start driving back, her father had a massive hemorrhagic stroke that was unrecoverable and he died the following day. Everyone was able to be with him and be together on his last day.
And naturally, we stayed for the next week, through when the memorial service was (it was a beautiful service and a wonderful testament to a man that influenced more people than he probably could have guessed). As the week progressed, we talked about how fortunate it was that we were there – that the family was all together and able to lean on one another.
We thought about all the air travelers that were stranded the week before because of the big blizzard in the east. We know that if we would have attempted to fly, that our flights would have likely been cancelled and our response would have been, “We’ll try again in January or February.” Us? We drove across the country in about five and a half days and never saw a cloud. We had perfect weather and easy travel. We thought about how fortunate it was that we had the flexibility to stay an extra week.
And so, with the convergence of jobs and family and dog-needs and weather and road trips and all of that, we found out the reason for our trip: we were supposed to be there.