Back when we were three (with another inside just starting to grow), we set off to camp our way across the country. He told me he heard the ocean in that giant horn, proudly wore his dino outfit, had hopes to dig up things in Mammoth Cave.
We headed west thinking our days in Indiana were coming to an end, as we do each year. I was teaching big kids and Clark was thinking quals and dissertation proposal. Our kid was three.
Fast forward seven years, some things don't change. Still a boy full of questions, he again quizzed our tour guide each time the group stopped and loved being underground more than anything else we did. Geology calls to this kid. Doing laundry involves shaking rocks from his pockets as much today as it did years ago.
Mostly there are shifts though. He humored me and held up the horn. There was no mention of the ocean or how "heaby" it was. This time a sister was there. There were no special outfits. The little boy who once sat on my lap while we safaried through Bear Country was in the backseat taking pictures, while his sister bounced on my legs, just as thrilled as her brother once was by every animal siting and by sitting up front. She, who last time we didn't know, delighted in all the things we did again, and reminded us often she'd missed these things when we traveled without her.
There is a lot more I want to share about our summer travels, but first I have to name the nostalgia this trip held. The places where I couldn't help but see a little person, gruff voice in non-stop chatter, so enamored with everything, holding a newly pregnant, tired mama's hand, who was so worried about impending travels, a career draining her, what was to come.
A part of me morns for her, wants to tell her we stay, she'll find good places to give her energy, a different way to spend her days, he'll hold a PhD and begin a career.
And a part of me is longing for that little boy and pregnant belly.
Mostly though, I'm grateful for change, shifts, dusting off debris. That it doesn't take thousands of years to discover what's beneath the surface.
And that I still have rocks to shake out of pockets.