As per tradition, before our sojourn to Ohio I was called “odd” and shouted out as I showered. This was followed by each of the children asking my advice on a variety of matters and then yelling at me for “telling” them “what to do.” Then the car was packed (I am not supposed to help or be near the car when the packing is happening lest I look at anyone “funny” or appear unbusy.). And, like the lady of the manor that I am, I was chauffeured in (relative) luxury across the entire state of Pennsylvania.
I always find it to be slightly magical to go from one place to another. Like, you wake up in your home in small town South Jersey and find yourself going to bed in suburban Cleveland near a very great lake but not near a Starbucks. Or maybe you started your day in your office and ended up down the shore, with your toes in the sand by sundown.
Leaving the place where you began and ending up elsewhere by sundown is a bit like stepping through the wardrobe, isn’t it?
Like Ohio, for example, everything is so different here. A local drive is a minimum of 20 minutes and quick drives are at least an hour. Everyone is friendly in a way that is different than New Jersey—I will always joke that I find the friendliness dishonest. Soda is Pop. There are a lot of smoked meats. There is this amazing grocery store that takes your cart after you check out and you pull up to load your groceries.
Oh and there is family—so much family. And while I love my husband’s family, what I love most is that they are my children’s family. Taking this sojourn across a state, to another land (where I am absolutely the girl with the Jersey accent), gives my kids a taste of all that family time. They get to see themselves in their uncle and cousins and great aunt and second cousins and great uncles and great grandmother and Grammy and Papa.
Everything about that is a little bit of magic—you wake up in one place and then you go to bed in your grandparents house—just like you stepped right into another world.