By Regena Kowitz
(Note: Originally written July 21, 2019)
There’s something to be said for driving down a dirt road, surrounded by trees and blue skies, while belting out your favorite songs at the top of your lungs. Even if you can’t carry a tune like me, it’s therapeutic. Energizing. Liberating.
It’s just you and the road and the music. It’s a way to revel in the moment. And it’s just fun, pure and simple. I highly recommend it.
This past weekend, I finally decided to go off-roading and camp overnight with my husband. In the past, I have left most of these excursions to Brad and the boys—I thought of this as their time together, father and son time. Not that they ever so much as hinted they didn’t want me along, but I wanted them to have this time together, the boys-only, mom-free moments they didn’t often get growing up.
During his 26 years serving in the Navy, Brad deployed a lot. From back-to-back sea duty to his long-anticipated shore duty turning into an individual augmentee billet to Iraq, there was a period of about 10 years during which he missed so many opportunities to be with our boys. So I was more than happy to step aside and let them go off-roading and overlanding without me, to bond and just be guys together. But now, the boys are off in so many different directions, they don’t always have time for dear old dad.
It had been a long time since I’ve gone camping, gotten off-grid, and slept beneath the stars. It's been even longer since I’d completely unplugged from work, my kids (don’t worry, they’re pretty much adults and I was confident they could keep themselves alive…at least for 24 hours), and all the responsibilities that tug at me each and every day. You know…laundry, meal plans, meetings, deliverables, doctors’ appointments, grocery shopping, mandatory annual training, teleconferences…the list goes on and on!
This was probably one of the best things I’ve done for myself in a while. My husband was driving his new Jeep Gladiator and I drove my little yellow Jeep (which doesn’t have any name at all yet) so I had some quality me-time, alone with nothing but an audiobook and my favorite playlists.