Family, Life, Menopause, Motherhood

The Day I Ran Away From Home

My husband’s hours are kind of tough, those closest to me know this.
I am left to do most of the “dirty” work around here and it is exhausting.
This year has been hard with my menopause, headaches, the kids’ schedules, etc.
So it has been challenging to say the least.
The past few weeks especially have been an uphill battle with homework, issues, and plans reaching an all-time high.
It has been tears, frustration, temper tantrums and just storms from morning until the lights turn off at the end of the day.
It was at one point that I literally turned my phone off one day after my youngest got off the bus and my teenager was safely home, that I just needed the world to be shut away.
I just couldn’t “adult” anymore at that point.

Two days later, I left for Ohio.
I ran away from home.
To be clear, I asked my family to run away with me.
It was Memorial Day weekend and when I told my youngest my plans, she said, and I quote, ” Aww, I was thinking we could just relax!”
You know, like she does 363 of the other days out of the year.

It was then suggested by my oldest that I leave without them.
Wait, what?
Really, I mean are you sure, I mean…….OKSOUNDSLIKEAPLAN!

Now, I am not one to run away from my problems.
But sh#$ got too real for me.
Normally, I never get to run away from anything.
But this time, I was allowed to get the hell out of Dodge.
With a hall pass.

I frantically threw clothes in a suitcase as I made sure it was okay that my 15-year-old was SURE she wanted to watch my seven-year-old ALL DAY on a Saturday afternoon while my husband was at work while I was driving to Ohio.
“Yes Mom, GO!”
I quickly packed, kissed and hugged them goodbye, then left.
As I got to the end of the neighborhood, I had second thoughts and sent this text:


text from my teenager

I miss my kids immediately after I leave them.
Is anyone else like that?
They can drive me NUTS then as soon as I leave them,  I immediately insanely miss them.
I wanted to turn around and take them to Target to get a slushy and something from the dollar spot and spend the rest of the day together.
But I knew that she wanted to do this just as much for me as I needed this weekend for myself.
And I really needed this weekend for myself.

UPDATE-as of the publishing of this we have indeed acquired the driving permit!!
And I have my first gray hairs.

As I finally started driving down the tollway, I felt like I was missing something.
It was this unfamiliar feeling.
Oh yeah.
That’s it!
It was weird to have control of the radio station, the snacks, my thoughts.
It was quite unsettling, not going to lie.
Not as exciting as I thought it would feel.
Traveling alone wasn’t as cool as I thought it would be, but I popped a mini donut I snagged from the kitchen table on the way out into my mouth, cranked up the Totally 80s and sped down 294 toward Indiana.

Once I get into Ohio, I immediately feel like I am 10 all over again.

Welcome to Ohio sign

I am transported back to the backseat of my parents Volare station wagon and I am a little girl.
Every time I see that Ohio sign, I am immediately a child and I am coming home.
I am back, my problems are few and I am loved, comforted and all is right with the world.

my feet in Lexington Ohio

So here is the real reason I went to Ohio: my soul sister Vikki, one of the two dear friends who came out to save my soul this winter?
Well, her son graduated from college this spring and he was getting ready to move to West Virginia and I was worried I wouldn’t ever get to meet him.
That is unless he comes to Chicago to cook for me because he is going to be a world-famous chef someday.
Well, I needed to meet him before he moved away because this particular weekend was his graduation party/birthday party for his sister, aka my twin.
When her name isn’t Bethy.
Or Bethyboo.
Had to go there.
I love her.
She completes me.

It was during one of our daily group messages, that it was suggested I should just come out that weekend.
Just go.
I am not a spontaneous person.
I made the decision to go 45 minutes before I left.
Because when people drive six hours to save a person’s soul on a cold February day, well, they mean a lot to the said person.
That person is me, by the way.
In case you were confused.
I have a way of confusing people.

Oh, and Vikki had no idea I was coming.
I didn’t mention that?
So there was that.

So those are my shoes in her driveway six hours after I left Chicago.
I took that picture after I got there, shared it on her Facebook wall and surprise.
It’s good to be “home”.


lanterns in Lexington Ohio

Ohio people sure know how to have fun.
They call “baggo” corn hole.
And they light a fire to paper and call it lanterns or something or other.
These were so cool and it didn’t catch a tree on fire or anything!!!


bonfire fun in Lexington Ohio

Some of the most fun people you will ever meet.
Also known as Cheech and Chong.
I haven’t laughed so hard sober in my life.

bonfire in Lexington Ohio

Best bonfire I have ever seen.
By the way, it’s not called a “bonfire” in Ohio.
It’s called a “fire”.
Sorry, us city folk call it a bonfire.
I’ve been away far too long.
Although I don’t remember having “fires” when I lived there.
Unless it was an actual FIRE.
Then it was a PROBLEM.


old friends in Bellville Ohio
I got to see my friend Rachel, who I haven’t seen in years.
I met her beautiful family, got to see her gorgeous home and spend quality time with them.
It did so much for my soul on a beautiful Ohio morning, eating donuts and talking about our lives.
I don’t think she realizes how much I needed that.
And how much I also need that Blues Brothers poster in their basement.
Then I got to spend an entire day/night with my family.
I got to jump on the trampoline, eat grapes on the porch.
I got to watch Paw Patrol with my little cousin and brush her hair.
I got to sit at the kitchen table and eat refrigerator pickles and talk with the family about our lives and catch up.

I got to go to JB’s and pet dogs.

And watch the Cav’s play basketball and eat salami and cheese rolled up together.
These things meant everything to me, I inhaled it all, taking it all in.
Not wanting it to end, knowing it would.
And later, I realized, I got not one single picture.
Because I wasn’t an observer, I was living it and it was delicious.
The next morning, I woke up and sat on the back porch in my jammies with my beautiful family and soaked in the last few hours together.
There was a hummingbird that kept buzzing by and I knew that my grandma was with us that day.
Long story and I will tell it someday.
My mom knows it.
It was so heady that I felt almost drunk with emotion, it feels so dramatic even writing it but I swear on my life it happened this way.
I will never forget this morning for the rest of my life.
I did think to take this picture:
backyard in Lexington Ohio
Watching the birds eat from the feeder, listening to the morning sounds, smelling their coffee, and talking about our worlds.
 I felt like I could return to MY world a better version of myself.
I needed this weekend more than I ever realized.
Then I had to leave.
They sent me off with a lovingly prepared goodie bag for the road and of course, Jones Chips.
I love my family.
So much.
But I wasn’t heading home just yet.
I had a stop to make.
brunch at Betsy's in Ohio
Betsy’s house.
For brunch.
Long story, long…
We were meeting at Betsy’s house to watch the Memorial Day parade that morning in Lexington.
I was in the marching band all through high school, I have mentioned it here before.
I have marched that parade from the time I was in 5th grade until I graduated high school in 1988.
The Memorial Day parade in Lexington was a big deal back in the day.
Our local parade here in Illinois lasts 10 minutes start to finish.
I even said to my girls last year after it was over, “This is NO Lexington”.
So I was ready to put my suburban Chicago Memorial Day parade’s to shame!
This parade was the cherry on the run away from home weekend sundae!
I couldn’t wait!


By the way, I could write a whole blog post about Betsy.
If I was a songwriter, I would write her a song.
Like Roxanne, only way less slutty.
Only it would sound like Tom We’ll leave the light on for ya  Bodett’s voice.
Let’s just say that Betsy is my hero.
And leave it at that.
She doesn’t know this but she is in my will now.
I am worth NOTHING but I am giving her my collection of Bruce Hornsby’s Greatest Hits 1985-1987.
It’ll be worth nothing someday.
I’ll even throw in a Taco Bell gift card.
Because I love her.


breakfast at a friend's house in Lexington Ohio
Back to Betsy’s.
She made all of the above.
She is like Martha Stewart.
If Martha Stewart had a personality and a kick-ass laugh.
I bet Martha doesn’t have someone working on a song for her.
Or a Taco Bell gift card and Bruce Hornsby’s greatest hits on the way.
Betsy doesn’t know how lucky she is that I am in her life.
I am the gift that keeps on giving.
After an amazing meal, we got to hit the streets of Lexington for the BIG PARADE!!!!
getting old is hard
That’s me crying.
Because the mayor that was mayor when I was a teenager?
Is still, mayor.
I couldn’t believe time stood still.
Then I was like, OMG HE LOOKS OLD.
Then I realized, omg he doesn’t recognize me because I look old too.


Lexington Ohio bands
This is so much fun!!!
Lexington Ohio parade
That’s it??
10 minutes later.
Apparently, things change EVERYWHERE.
It was worth the six hours and forty-five-minute drive.
I love my family, my friends, my new friends.
This weekend was soul filling.
I don’t regret a thing.
I do have to say, when my husband sent me a picture of my girls sitting at our parade while I was at a rest stop in Fort Wayne getting gas on the way home, I was heartsick.
I missed out.
I was so glad I went but maybe not on a holiday weekend next time.
Then I arrived home to my seven-year-old waiting on the sidewalk.
With a note.
notes from daughter
And a teenager who ran out the door to hug me.
It is good for mom to run away from home sometimes.
But it is really, really good to be home too.

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