Otter pops in hand, we piled into our Lincoln Aviator (who we call “Abe”), the familiar loading of the pod up top (newly named “Paul”), pulling the ever faithful trailer (newly named “Samson”) who has diligently followed for years behind whatever lead vehicle that assumes the position of general. Last year’s summer vehicular trio back together again for another epic journey. Inside Abe, the family trio also back together again, settled into our roles and spots like we never left. Only this time, it feels different. At almost 190,000 miles, we’re pretty sure this will be Abe’s last big journey, and with Rudy wanting to actually have “kid” summers (who can blame him?), we probably won’t do as big of a haul again soon. So, we launch into this tour, the SHiNE Tour, with full excitement and a little bit of melancholy. 

It has been an interesting year for the Fredeens so far. Jared turned 40 and took an amazing surprise road trip with his dad, only to return home to 60+ of his best friends ready to celebrate him. On the heels of that lovely time, he dealt with the passing of his grandma. His quick return to PA was right in the middle of a 9 gigs in 10 days for CS, so he was fortunate to get to go, but it was very rushed, and I’m not sure the loss has really sunk in yet. Rudyard bravely tackled kindergarten and made tons of friends. He had his first “kiss” and lost his first pet, his fish named Michelangelo. We had a fish funeral, and sang “Blackbird” around the toilet as we dumped and flushed Mikey to the great fish tank in the sky. There are fewer things that are as sad, or as important, as watching your child grieve. I can’t imagine the true losses and horrors that some children face. At one point during the evening, Rudy said, “Mommy, I’m not really done being sad yet.” I wish everyone felt as safe saying that out loud. We all felt it hard that day. 

My year is still up in the air. Call me superstitious or stupid or dramatic or whatever you want, really…but I hate even numbers. I’m not saying nothing wonderful happens on even years, I mean, I got married at 34, had Rudes at 36 and my 40th bday was amazing…but this year has just been so strange personally and I’m ready to move on from 42 ASAP. However, I still feel a vibration from life just under the surface, like something new is coming…the absolute best things come from these feelings, so I’m going to just roll with it and breathe. 

At the restaurant, being a kid

As we rolled into the little “Italian villa” of Wenatchee, we all fully succumbed to the start of tour. We met our hosts for the night, had some delicious Mexican food, and decided to call it a day (even though it was only 9:30) because Jared started to feel the beginning of a vicious cold that Rudy had so thoughtfully brought home as one last gift from kindergarten, and we had a long couple days ahead. 

Maybe I said it last year, perhaps I’ll say it again, but I keep coming back to the first line of music box for the beginning of adventure….

“Jump in my boat, and I’ll take you sailing. We’ll stay out to sea, while our lives are derailing back home….and for a brief time, you and me, PIRATES we’ll be!” 


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