As I travel on the old U.S. Route, I noticed that it paralleled the railroad tracks most of the time. As I watched the tracks go by as I roll down the road, I can’t help but to think about my daughter’s journey as a freight-hopper (also called train hopping, train surfing, train hitching or, in parts of the United States, catching out). Basically it’s riding on the outside of a train, a freight car or another rail transport which is illegal and very dangerous.
One day many years ago, she just decided to walk out and travel without a word. I was devastated when she walked out. For many years, I did not know where she was or if she was still alive. Every now and then, I would get a call from her which always gave me a sense of relief knowing that she is alright for now.
Her choices took a huge toll on me mentally and physically. It also took a toll on the family as well. Mentally, I always wondered what I did wrong and how did I failed as a mother. Due to the stress from worrying, I would get ulcers and became quite a bit under weight. Also with all of the obsessing about my daughter, I neglected my other child. Then through a support group, I learned to detach with love. I also learned that this was her journey and not mine to understand. All I could do is hope for the best and pray that our relationship would rekindle someday.
Fast forward to now, my daughter has settled down now in Oregon and has a healthy nine month old son. Last week, I got to spend the weekend in Boston, MA with my daughter and grandson at her boyfriend’s family house. They happened to be there for a wedding the same time I was in the area. We had a great time and we are slowly rebuilding that mother and daughter relationship and one night we joked how our roles have reversed. Now, I’m the one who is traveling on the back road and she is settling down as a mother. She is the one that is now worried about me. She keeps asking if I have double checked everything on the motorcycle to make sure that it is in working condition.
Yes, our roles have reversed but our choices as to how we got there is different. I worked hard all of my life and followed the rules that we think are expected of us. Go to school, get a career (which may mean you have to work more than the usual 40 hours per week), get married, have 2.5 children, get a house with the white picket fence (choose a house that is more than you can afford so you can have social standing among your friends), and build a nest egg that you can hope to retire on (and you might be lucky to get it by the time you retire). Even if you do all of this, you may not get the chance to reap the benefit of all of your hard work with the one you love. Time is too short for some of us which I learned the hard way.
With this lesson learned, I shared with everyone that I will be embarking on this journey and sold off everything I owned so I can somewhat afford to take a year off from work without too much stress financially. I also arranged to be in constant communication with my loves one whether via Skype, text messages or via the Spot tracker to give them a peace of mind.
Now that I have been traveling for the last three and an half months, I do understand the lure and the rush of the open road. However, I still will never understand the concept of freight-hopping just as some will never understand the concept of traveling on a motorcycle instead of a car.
Yes, our roles have reversed. However, I can’t wait for the day my grandson is old enough for me to take him camping and to show him the wonders of the outdoors. Maybe, by having some grandma times will give my daughter an opportunity for short trips out on the road to re-energerize and to rejuvenate as to who she is and always will be, an amazing daughter, women and mother.