My youngest daughter had three doctor's visits scheduled for today. She had originally planned on going to all three by herself. In the eleventh hour she asked Mrs ERJ to go with her to the first appointment.
The late start worked out just fine. We had rain in the morning. We broke into clear skies at 12:35 PM as we crossed over M-43 on westbound I-96.
My youngest son invited one of his friends. The friend's mom and Mrs ERJ are also friends so we extended the invitation to her as well. She accepted the invitation.
The picture in my head was that I would snooze in the back of the van while Mrs ERJ drove and son's friend's mom rode up front.
In fact, I got to drive with Mrs ERJ and friend's mom in the middle seats and the two boys in the back.
You can learn a lot listening to two women talk for four hours. Especially when the boys are wearing headphones and the gals forget there is a third adult listening.
I deeply respect my son's friend's mom, dad and their family. Like every family now days, they are negotiating the kaleidoscope of stresses that life throws at them. They are successful because they are acting with integrity, have fortitude and a deep loyalty for each other. They also exercise a fair smattering of ingenuity.
One of the things that it reminded me is that I have a tendency to be judgmental and to make a lot of assumptions. I learned that one of the reasons that I would sometimes see one of the parents in a non-typical gender role was because the other parent had finished working five, 12 hour shifts and was dead-beat-tired. It takes a lot out of you when doing factory work, the cool air vent is spewing 104 degree air and you are working 12s to cover co-worker vacations. I was seeing flexibility and heroics.
I think the mom really enjoyed a day at the beach where she could just tag along and have fun. She has been the star at the center of the solar system that keeps it all together for the last 20 years. I don't mean star in the egotistical sense. I mean star in the sense of, this is what moms do. They keep it together. They shed warmth and light. They are the center of the family.
There will be no pictures to respect the privacy of the other family.
But I will include one little snippet of video because I love the sound of running water: