I'm so fortunate that...
-My body is physical healthy and free of pain to do this bicycle trip across the country
-I can take 3 months mid-career to take this trip
-I'm financially able to do this (a lot of saving $$, trust me!)
-I have a support network of friends and family
But, most importantly, I'm fortunate that I have wonderful, loving, supportive, engaged parents. I mean, how lucky am I? I want to acknowledge them because I know many people do not have what I have. I know they think I'm a little crazy for doing this (who doesn't??) but when I asked my mom in the spring if she was worried about me taking this trip, her response was, "Well, of course I'll be concerned while you are on this trip. I'm your mom. But, I'd be disappointed if you didn't do it. You've been talking about this for 23 years." Now, that's support. My parents raised my brother and I to have wings. Wings to do whatever we wanted that would allow us to be independent (of them! Ha!) and healthy and happy. "Live in a place that we'll love to visit" they used to say, never making us feel badly about moving away. "When you move away, never feel you HAVE to come back for holidays. That is YOUR precious vacation time and we'd never assume you'd want to spend that time with your mom and dad. You are always welcome back to join us, but we'll never expect it. You start your own traditions." I mean, cool, right?
With that said, I promised them (even though I don't think they asked, it was my rule), that I'd be in touch every day while on this trip. A text, call or email... at least. Once my mom said, "You're always calling!" She didn't mean it to be rude, but it suggests that I came up with the rule that I'm in touch everyday. Just so someone knows I'm safe. Some days I'm so exhausted or busy engaging with other people and hosts that my email is simply, "I'm here in XXX". Some days I call and we chat about my day and I hear what's going on in their lives.
I can't even begin to count how many times they've sent an email or told me over the phone, "We are proud of you". In my last blog post entitled Proud to be an American, my mom responded with, "I'm proud to be your mom!" I can't even describe how good that feels, even at 38 years old to have your parents say, "We love you. We believe in you. You are amazing." It feels as good as when I was in the 6th grade play and had a lead singing part and they said the same thing. Although I don't think they said, "You are amazing" since I'm tone deaf and had no right to get that singing part. But you get the point... they back me up 100%. They are there for me always. They don't bail. They are consistent and dependable. I don't want to take this for granted because I know people who's parents aren't like this.
Thank you mom and dad... I'm proud of you guys too. I love you so much. And, I can't wait to see you in Rhode Island and give you each a big hug. And, I'll say, "I did it. And I didn't do it alone. Thank you."