The Iowa Drive

As we're driving back from Iowa tonight I'm plagued by thoughts of past Iowa trips. I've made this trip hundreds of times. I've been a back seat passenger, a driver, a right seat navigator. I've made the trip in record heat without air conditioning. In blizzards watching the cars pile up on the side of the road. In early fall when all the leaves were changing and fields were being plowed.
I've seen every inch of this trip at just about every time of day. This road has been the rhythm to my breathing as I've slept, just as it is now for my daughters. (Yes, girl child is actually sleeping in the car. Make this the 8th time she's ever slept in a moving vehicle).
These roads are ingrained in my soul. As much a piece of me as the house that I built.
I've loved this trip. And loathed this trip. I guess can be said of anything that has been a part of your life for so long.

I've been thinking a lot this trip about Scott. He's surrounded me. I can't help but be reminded of all the times he made this trip with me.
There was his first trip. That was back when he would do much of the driving. It was one of the few times Scott drove that my parents warned us of a speed trap up ahead and yet Scott still managed to get pulled over and get a ticket. You see, we (Scott, Justin and I) were far to busy counting the change in Scott's change drawer to see who had guessed the correct amount. No the $40 in the change drawer didn't cover the $150 speeding ticket. That story is still legendary in my family.
There were several trips made while I was going through in-vitro and during my pregnancy. Scott and I spent that time talking about how we wanted to raise our family. Discussing everything from table manners to paying for college, funding first cars. We talked about what if we had twins. The last trip we made before I had Kate (who we didn't know was a girl or a boy), we talked baby names. We had our boys name settled. It was a rather easy task. The girls name however, we didn't know until Kate was born. So during that last trip with Kate doing flip flops in my belly we scoured the road signs and the surrounding area for influence. Passing the sign for the Joslin exit a few moments ago took me back in time. I could hear Scott sitting in the passenger seat saying "Joslin Tamara. Joslin Witt. Josline Tamara Witt for the defense your honor. Dr. Joslin Witt cures cancers". Scott did that with every name he deemed "worthy".
The trips got harder through the years. The last one with Scott was particularly brutal. Even with my parents help (which was an absolute necessity) it was almost more than I could handle. Scott getting that last Iowa Family Christmas, was worth every bit of agony for all of us. I wish I had able to settle down enough to really process that it would be his last trip. I wish I remembered more of the "quiet" moments. I do remember one specific moment from that trip. Someone asked him if they could "help" him. His response "No thanks. I need my wife. She does it best." He didn't know I heard him. But that blind faith, that complete trust he had in me made me a better person.
It made me a better person and it taught me that I can handle anything. Complex dressing changes in parking lots. Having a passenger in the vehicle go into respiratory distress. compromising on music choices for a six hour drive. Talking with someone without saying a word.
And I guess tonight, this trip (and Scott) is teaching me how to live after such tremendous loss. I can handle anything....

missy dappen  – (September 5, 2011 at 2:11 PM)  

Of all the family members/loved ones/caregivers I've met in my (allbeit short) 4 1/2 years at Rush, I've never seen anyone care for and love someone as perfectly and thoroughly as you, Brandi. You have a strong soul. xoxoxo

Anonymous –   – (September 5, 2011 at 10:14 PM)  

I think Colton helped to put her to sleep for you. Hugs and much love to you!

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