Updated: Jan 22, 2021
When I was growing up, flying wasn't an affordable option for family vacations. Instead, my dad would take us on road trips. Those trips are among my favorite childhood memories.
I've been throughout some tough times in my life. Besides, I wasn't necessarily a very happy child. I spent a lot of time playing by myself when I was home. Being the only girl and youngest of three, I felt pretty lonely most of the time.
My mom spent most of her time taking care of household chores and preparing fresh, delicious meals for us while my dad would play “boy games” with my brothers. At times, I would try to play with them, but as I grew up, I just didn't feel like I fit in, especially when my brothers would make it clear that I wasn't welcome. Sometimes, they would mistreat me in front of our dad who did nothing about it. As a child, I never understood that, but later in life I was able to learn why he took no action. However, that is a subject for another post . . .
The fact is, every time my dad started to plan a road trip, I would get so excited because I knew it was that time of the year when I would feel like I was part of something. Taking road trips with my family not only created great memories, but made me feel loved and happy!
This past weekend, my husband, my daughter and I headed to Orlando; about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Miami. Since I woke up early and had time to get ready and load the car before everyone else was awake, I volunteered to drive.
After a while of heading north on the turnpike, I noticed letters and signs light up on my steering wheel reminding me of the never-used-on-a-daily-basis self-driving feature available in my car. I set the desired speed, line-keep and steering, and the automatic forward collision breaking assist. With that, I was finally able to sit back for a bit, allowing me to give my foot and arm a break, while my hands would softly touch the steering wheel for safety purposes.
Eyes on the road. After my head encountered the headrest, I noticed the silence inside the car except for the Blue-ray disc playing in the back. Sitting up once again, I looked at the rear-view mirror and saw my daughter's angelic sleeping face. She had gone back to sleep. After all, it wasn't even six o'clock in the morning yet.
She is just like me when I was a little girl!
With a grin, I rested my head back again thinking of how excited she gets right before we travel. No matter what time it is, she wakes up full of energy ready to go. Just like me. I used to get so anxious I couldn't fall asleep. To make matters even worse, when I finally did, I would wake up just to check how many more hours were left until it was time to go. I recall a specific time when I woke up my dad at least three times to ask him how many more hours. Without even raising his voice, he would tell me to go back to sleep.
My dad had many cars when I was growing up. By far, my favorite one was the Ford Belina, a perfect car for our road trips! Since the back was spacious, he used to set camping mattresses back there for us. (There wasn’t any child restraint requirement at the time.) While one of us would ride next to him, the other two went in the back, comfortably lying down and listening to music in our Walkmans.
Distracted by a zigzagging car ahead of me, I reduced my speed and got ready to switch lanes. I started to realize I have been able to accomplish many things in life never dreamed of as a little girl. To own a self-driving vehicle was beyond my imagination: pretty futuristic and unaffordable, not to mention.
Also, I was following my dad's footsteps by taking road trips with my own family and helping my daughter to create her childhood memories. In some ways, this was kind of unexpected since growing up, I was led to believe I wasn't good enough. So having the daughter I always dreamed of and a family of my own would be only in my imagination.
There are things in life that no sum of money can buy. Those are the hardest ones to achieve because they don't rely solely on our efforts. But I was indeed capable of it, despite how many times those who should have been my greatest supports made me doubt myself. That's why I always say if we don't believe in ourselves, who else is going to believe in us? It starts within, no matter what others say. As long as we know who we are, we will be fine. You know why? Because nobody can tell us otherwise. We are what we are, not what others say.
I’ve had some friends pick on me and joke about the fact that I proudly own a Honda Odyssey. The minivan that actually is my dream car. I know, right?! What a joke! Most people would prefer a fancy, sophisticated, super expensive car. But not me, because it is a family car. Perfect for loading up and taking road trips! A capsule of memory making. Just like I once dreamed of.
And guess what? Here we are! Taking a nap . . .
BTW, would you care for a snack or beverage?