The kids have grown into teens as we have traveled thousands of miles around the United States. With this age comes different interests. One of them being YouTube and humorous people on it like Dan and Phil and their show The Amazing Tour is Not on Fire.
It has been fulfilling for Jon and me to support our kids’ interests as they grow. Of course, it was much easier to bring the kids to the park or to the science museum in town compared to mapping out a path across three states for a performance. Yet, if it works in our overall summer plan of travel, then we will try our best to make it work.
With Nashville being slim pickings for extended camping, we put down our jacks in the country – a grassy patch of land outlined by trees. The location made it possible for Grace to take her brother to see her favorite YouTubers in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a four-hour drive one way, our own van adventure.
Trying to save money like a good mom, I booked us at an Econo Lodge that had four stars and was supposed to be unlike any other – clean, quality, and close to the show. The moment the door creaked open and the dark room was exposed, my gut twisted. The office chair was ripped, the beds could fit a person and a half, and a wall was patched where someone had marked it with their fist. It took five minutes to gather the kids and walk out with a full refund.
We found the Embassy Suites to have an opening, so we grabbed our bags and paid the valet as the locals told us the parking garages were not to be trusted. This room was comfortable enough for me to have a bath in, and spend a month. The kids shared their excitement by jumping off the beds.
The van door wasn’t even slid shut before the kids were sharing the details of the show. With so much to share, I stayed parked along the street listening to them recount their first time attending a show alone. They seemed more confident, more connected, and more grown up than when I had dropped them off only a couple of hours ago.
We walked to the CVS connected to the hotel and bought snacks. The Breakfast Club was showing on the flat screen. I was taken back to my first time watching the movie at a friend’s 13th birthday party with helium balloons that filled the basement. A time where I wondered about teenage love and romance. The movie was so much better back then!
Women were laughing and chatting loudly from both sides of our room suite. It seemed we were sandwiched between two bachelorette parties that lasted until 4am. The historic building echoed their parties into our bedroom. My brain was too groggy to complain until the morning hours.
Meeting a couple of the women in the hallway as they came out of the room the next morning. I said, “We just want to know who Derek is?” They only gave blank stares. “Someone from your room was yelling for Derek all night long,” I said.
Their sleep deprived eyes rounded. “Oh, that’s her fiance.” Exchanging looks they darted to the elevator.
Was it worth the few hours of sleep, the long drive, the chaos of the city, and the hours of a woman wondering where Derek was? A definite yes, especially after my daughter thanked me for my efforts. It was a weekend where I could show her how much I valued her interests and how special she is to me. I had the opportunity to show Grace the words “you are special to me” really mean something.