We drove down to Salt Lake City (6.5 hours straight through) to pick up the J-man at the airport after he’d been gone for 8 days. It was so good to get him back. I was so excited to see him again – just wanted to stare at him and hug him and stare some more and hug some more. Which I think made him a bit uncomfortable so I tried to tone it down and let him be the grown-up independent traveler guy he really is.
Being from a small town (although I don’t think he realized how small until this trip) he was amazed at what we saw on the way to and in Salt Lake City both as I took him to the airport last week, and as we picked him up this week. He was pretty wowed by the big city. So we took him to down town SLC to the mall there for about 1.5 hours – enough time to look around Nordstrom, walk over the “sky way” from one part of the mall to another, grab some food, and go. He was impressed!
Being who he is, you know what he got the biggest kick out of at the mall? The stream they have running through it with trout. He insisted we go down and walk along it and look a the fish. So, Nordstrom, GAP, Macy’s and all those other stores, step aside because my big-city-loving-small-town boy was more interested in the trout than the trousers. But he did like the food at the mall – he got off that plane hungry and the elevator excited him too!
Then we got in the car and drove 6.5 hours home. Makes for a long day, but was worth it. We had 6.5 hours of talking in the car, and boy did he (and we) talk. It was amazing!
Then you know what happened? Within 13 hours of being home he’d slept and was off to a friend’s house for a birthday party/camp-out, and we were missing him all over again. Sigh. Such is the life of a mom to a social pre-teen.
Just and FYI: We do have an airport in our town – but to travel to his destination and back it would have required changing planes in SLC, which is a big airport and this being his first time traveling alone, he wasn’t comfortable with that idea. Next time, he’ll fly from our little local airport and do just fine changing planes, and we won’t have to drive 13+ hours in a day on both ends of his trip. But this was a great start to his independent traveling. He wants to go to Peru on a short-term mission in the next few years, so he needs to build up his traveling skills.