On one of the trips, my husband had driven along with me, so I lamented to him how much more fun it would be if we had taken a six hour drive that actually ended up with our final destination being somewhere other than our house; a vacation spot, for example. To pass the time, I asked him where we would be if we had gone north for six hours.
"Well," he said. "We would have crossed the Mackinac bridge, and would be somewhere in the Upper Peninsula."
"Oh, that would be great." I replied, wistfully. "Where would we be if we had driven south?"
"Still in Ohio." he said.
"Oh, that would be hell." I replied, horrified. Where would we be if we had continued on towards the West?"
"We would be in Chicago."
"Much better!" I said with enthusiasm. "If we went east though, I think we would be in the middle of one of the Great Lakes, so we shouldn't go that way. Then again, if we just continue on in the direction we are going we will end up in our house, that is presently being remodeled, and is covered with dust and in total disarray. I am just going to go east, after all; the middle of Lake Huron will be cleaner."
In just a few weeks, I will be making the trip again; this time with a Valente caravan, if I can coordinate one, so that we can bring Olivia home, along with all the furnishings and clothes that she has accumulated in the dorm room that she will be vacating for the summer. It is interesting to note how many possessions a student can fit into a room about the size of one's bathroom...the amount is considerable. A couple of months later we will reverse the process, so that we can bring Olivia back, along with all the furnishings and clothes that she will be needing again, in the NEW dorm room she will be occupying. College administrators plan it this way, because they feel that paying tuition isn't memorable enough for parents of students; the additional work of moving a student in and out of dorm rooms on a regular basis will embed the college experience in parents' minds for eternity. It is also helpful because it gives one an idea of what purgatory would be like, thus providing incentive to be a better person.
Ultimately though, it is, of course, worthwhile. Olivia has had an exemplary first year, and, just like her sisters before her, Dave and I marvel at all that she has accomplished. She is, also, the last of our daughters, so we understand that the next move we make with her, after her college years are finished, will be to somewhere other than her home with us. It is enough to make me savor these long drives...and maybe wish they wouldn't be over, so soon.