Table for One
Noble is at Space Camp this week in Huntsville, AL. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for him (either his first trip or his only, either way…it’s a big thing for our boy.) When we planned it, we didn’t quite think through how he would GET to Alabama. Yeah. I wasn’t about to put my baby on a plane by himself, and we didn’t have the money for me to fly here with him and fly back, etc. So then we thought I could fly out with him and get a hotel room for the week, get some work done while he was at camp. And then we did the math on THAT…and it just made sense for me to drive him here. So, I did. I didn’t put a lot of thought into it and I tried not to stress about it. I haven’t driven more than a couple hours at a time for years, so this felt BIG. One of the things I promised myself years ago was that when we had kids, I wouldn’t hesitate to travel with or for them. If that meant driving long distances, learning new things, going unfamiliar places…I would do it. So far, that’s only taken me a little out of my comfort zone (the kids will never forget the time Mommy accidentally took them to SXSW. In my defense, I wanted to meet Grumpy Cat, may she rest in peace). The kids and I have traveled when James was working, and we’ve traveled TO where he was working. We’ve dropped him off at the airport and driven on to a family reunion, then driven home without him. So, while this was the longest trip I’ve made as a solo driver in more years than I can count, I knew it was do-able because…well, Space Camp.
And you know what? It was a wonderful, wonderful drive out here. Noble chose some audio books for the drive, and the time just flew by. We hit traffic and a near panic-attack as we crossed the Mississippi in Louisiana, no lie…I don’t do bridges, and there were 2 nasty ones in that little state, but other than that, it was a good trip. We didn’t have a hotel reservation for Saturday night because I wasn’t sure how far we’d drive, and when we got as far as we wanted to go, Noble and I consulted the Google and found a great place to stay. It wasn’t a big deal, and I was maybe a little disappointed at how anticlimactic the whole drive out here was. Until I saw the rocket, but that’s another blog post.
So, after I dropped Noble off at Space Camp, I was on my own. I had a ton of work to get through this week, and then several things came up on top of that. It’s been such a satisfying time of working and learning—I finished an online course I bought and have been putting off for half a year (yup). That’s so satisfying! I’ve learned several things that have directly impacted our clients this week, and solved problems for them. Again, so satisfying! And now I’m in the final hours of my week here in the Inn of Solitude, and I have nothing but happy memories of my time here.
I’ve gotten into a routine here (shocker!) that I am actually enjoying. So, I work for 4-5 hours after breakfast, then walk outside to my car and smile when I see the rocket and wonder what Noble’s doing, then I drive a few minutes to one of the two areas I’ve stumbled across that have outdoor restaurants. I eat lunch outside, then sit in the sun for a bit and read (finished Don Miller’s Blue Like Jazz today!). Then it’s back to the hotel for a few minutes to rest and then it’s back to work for another few hours before I go downstairs for dinner. Then back upstairs to work for a couple hours (or 6, the day I got inspired and kept working until the work was done). I feel a little guilty being so productive, because I know that means someone I love is walking the dogs and cleaning the litterbox and cooking and doing the dishes. But at the same time, I am grateful for this time and for what I’ve learned as much as what I’ve accomplished.
I’ve eaten all of my meals alone this week, and I’ve only cheated and eaten in the room twice (once because I had a meeting and once because I was eating leftovers for dinner instead of eating downstairs). It’s a discipline, eating alone. The easy way would be to read my book or look at my phone, or just focus on my plate and eat as fast as I can. I’ve learned that the best way for me to eat alone is to be present, look around, and be open if I should have the opportunity to visit with someone (a server, cute baby, whoever). Today at lunch, a little bird hopped up on the chair across from me. I wasn’t sure if she wanted to talk or if she was just hoping I’d leave the roll on the plate for her, but she looked at me and I looked at her, both of us waiting for the other to break the silence. I realized that I’ve grown rusty at small talk (Kayci will never believe that!) this week. And then I think that as much as this week was all about Noble and what God had here for him at the Space Center, I think God had some lessons for me here in the silence, too.