The Ruark Kids

We did it, daddy!

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Baby brain has definitely set in.

There we are, Siena and I driving to school yesterday. Once again, I’ve put on the radio from my “player” (as Siena calls my MP3 player…”Dad do you got your player?”) TMBG’s No! at Siena’s request. Siena is quiet and still in the back, listening to the music. My mind starts to wander as I stare ahead at the stretch of highway before me, vanishing into the distance. Something catches my consciousness in my peripheral vision, the intuitive reflex bestowed upon me by small, furry mammalian ancestors struggling for survival against larger, fiercer predators. Crap! It was the green highway sign for our exit! No way I can cut across two lanes to make the exit in time.

Siena we missed our exit! (we missed our exit, daddy?)

Thankfully I avoid uttering anything I’ll regret later (as Siena is a prolific repeater presently). I do laugh and shout out to Siena that we’ll have to turn around at the next exit, a few miles ahead. Half-way to the next exit, Siena is all a-flutter asking questions like, “Did we miss our exit?” and “Are we turning around?” and “Are we not going to school?” At some point, she says, “I’m going to be a big helper.” Yes you are, girl. Too bad you weren’t a big helper earlier and let me know our exit was coming up.

Ok Siena when we get to the next exit we’re going to swing around to head back, ok? (ok)

The exit ahead is a junction with another highway; a standard cloverleaf arrangement. I’m traveling north. Assuming I remember it correctly, I should be able to take the westbound exit, stay in the exit lane, and immediately exit again for the southbound journey back the way we came. If I’m lucky, and there’s no traffic in front me, and Siena doesn’t mind a few G’s, I can almost do this at speed, 35 mph ramp speed limits be damned.

We’re gonna take this one fast, I need to get to work.

I prep Siena for the adventure to come. She likes taking fast exits, what one might label as centrifugal forces even though that’s not really a true force. The roads are also in the process of being paved (thanks to the US Recovery Act), so large sections are in that noisy shredded state awaiting new pavement; because of the musical noise the tires make on this substrate, I’ve told Siena that the road sings. The transition from highway to exit involves a change in surface, which means bumps ahead.

All right Siena, we gonna does this? (yeah.)

We hit the exit (definitely not going to miss another one). Of course, I do break a little: I’m crazy but not insane, but we hit the turn pretty good. Good thing to, because I don’t really feel like waiting for the semi coming up on the westbound highway if it decides to exit; better accelerate extra coming out of the curve.

Look Siena, a truck! (is there a truck, daddy?)

Whew, the exit lane remains and continues around the cloverleaf. I can’t even see a sign for what this new exit dumps me onto, but it could only be the southbound lane of the highway I was just on. We accelerate out back on the highway (yep, the grooves indicate I’m on the right road) and head towards the original exit.

Here we go, baby, back to school! (are we going to school?)

The trip back one exit seems faster than the northbound jaunt was. Maybe I had excess speed to burn off. We zoom back towards our target.

All right, this is our exit, we’re not going to miss it this time!

As I hit this exit (need to remember to turn the other way from normal since I’m coming from the north this time) and approach the lights for the cross road, Siena shouts,

“We did it, daddy!”

as if this was all some great trial and test through which we persevered and which we have finally, after lengthy struggle, overcome (and as if she actually had anything to do with it!). Her exclamation breaks like the thunderclap that announces the start of a long-desired rain after a hot, muggy, oppressive heat. I laugh, and none of this troubles me at all.

Yes baby, we did. And now to school.

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