My dad loved to go for Sunday drives. When I was a little girl, we would pile into the car and head out to explore the twists and turns of rural mountain roads. As the countryside went zipping past, surprise sightings of animals, vegetation, and well-lived-in buildings would materialize around hidden bends in the road. Occasionally, we would crest the top of a hill and for just a moment the road before us would disappear. As if the laws of physics had just changed, my belly and chest would tumble and flutter. My breath and thoughts would be suspended timelessly in space as the car found its way gradually back to the grip and predictable friction of the road. My body and mind would move from fear to excitation to release with a bit of a longing to feel once again that unpredictability.
We called these surprise bumps in the road, “thank you ma’am”’s.
There was a shared commonality in our experience of the rising and falling emotions and actions, a feeling of security yet completely lacking control.
These hills provided a delightful playing field in which we could not just momentarily share a thrill and a giggle but practiced the skills needed to navigate the straightaways, hidden corners, and security-defying bumps on the road of every day life.
I had no idea way back when what fabulous training that would be to exercise letting go, share in facing and appreciating someone else’s challenge in my own, and how much fun the bumps in the road can be when you let them take you where you might not have planned to go.
I know now that the road always returns underneath me, in some form or fashion, and there is a guarantee that on the horizon is another “thank you, ma’am.”