Somewhere in Wisconsin, we gave up.
“All Summer Long” was playing on every radio station in every town we passed through. Every attempt to change the station had met with a new rendition of “All Summer Long.”
Our white flag was up. We would listen to this stupid song.
By Illinois, we were singing along—my new husband and I—in that red Nissan Sentra stuffed with my possessions and our wedding gifts.
My feet on the dashboard, his hands on the wheel, our new rings sparkling, that song playing over and over again. These are the things I remember from that three day drive to our new home.
Our conversation was light and easy. Our tans were fresh. We were poor and I was worried about being a wife, but I knew that I was supposed to be sitting next to that man.
Town after town, county after county, state after state, that song played.
By Tennessee we knew all the words. We joked that years from now, we would remember this song—not the carefully selected first dance song from our reception—as “our song.”
It wasn’t a song we would have picked, or even particularly liked, but it had become the soundtrack to our great adventure.
Somewhere in north Florida, where the stations get scarce, I fell asleep.
I remember David waking me up 45 minutes outside of what would be our home.
“Want to see where we are living?”
I suddenly felt a pit in my stomach.
We drove through the outskirts, through suburbs, through downtown. With each exit we passed, my anxiety grew. Would I like this place? Was it right for us? Would we make good memories here, or would it be a chapter we’d want to forget?
“We’re almost here,” he said, jarring me out of my reverie. “This is our neighborhood.”
And just then, the song began again. I had to smile.
Our great adventure wasn’t ending with this road trip. Our great adventure was just beginning.
I heard that song today as I drove with our baby, and thought of that road trip and the guy who made it with me. We aren’t as young, aren’t as tan, aren’t as carefree as our 22 year old baby selves.
I mean really. We look 17.
But our great adventure continues.
On this summer day, almost six years later, I am not wistful for that time. I like being connected to a community, like knowing my way around the city that once seemed so confusing, like being more confident than that girl was, like knowing more about my husband than that young bride knew. We are closer now than we were then, thanks to joy and pain alike, and I wouldn’t trade that closeness for anything.
But I still have a special place in my heart for that song, for those memories, for that hesitancy mixed with anticipation: what comes next?
If the last six years are any indication, it’s going to be good.