With a few days off, we decided to put some distance between us and the negative. After assessing what we wanted to do and how far we wanted to get, we settled on aiming for Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I gotta tell you, almost immediately upon leaving Illinois, we felt better. The first gas station we rolled into greeted us with a smile and even the weather gave up the ghost and just chilled off for a bit. As a matter of fact, right as we began to get going, our poor truck had absolutely had enough of the 99°+ weather and decided to let us know just how pissed he was by overheating. Quick thinking Jared gently limped us into the Chevy dealership next to where we were staying. We didn’t know if they could help, but we hoped they would point us in the right direction. Well, here in Iowa now, things are different! This guy just came out, popped the hood, and checked our coolant (dangerously low). In a moment, he appeared with some new coolant, popped it in our engine, gave Jared the remainder, a hug and we were on our way! No charge, even!
Faith in humanity restored, we headed out towards Yankton, South Dakota back to our cheery selves! After getting a good portion of asphalt under our wheels, we looked up a park near Cedar Rapids (where we wanted to catch the new Lion King film). We found a water park that we thought would be perfect for passing the time until the movie started. We got there and the whole thing was closed!! Apparently they had shut down for the day with the storm rolling in and giving cause for caution. Such a bummer! As we pulled our truck around the empty lot with our dreams of splashing all dried up, we saw a playground! Huzzah!! And, even better, there was a kid on it! Double bonus. Before Jared and I even got our crossword and blanket ready to bring over, Rudy had met his new friend, Luther, and spent the next 2 hours engaged to the brim with the little guy. We chatted on and off with his mom until we had to get going to our movie.
I just want to reiterate my respect for my son. He just is so effortless in his relationship pursuits. It’s a basic understanding to him that the kiddos he meets on these tours are not forever friends, but that never hinders him from giving full heart to the immediate experience. He doesn’t let the concept of “temporary” deter him from the full soak of the moment around him. And then, through that, Jared and I are captured in that space with our boy, existing in his time. It is such a gift. He gives us time and space and doesn’t even know he’s done it. The key is allowing for those moments, giving in to the awareness that, however non-permanent it may seem, the importance is huge in the greater scheme. The novelty of the “non-rush”… as necessary, sometimes more, than the push forward, the get up and go, the hurry. Thank you Rudy for your everyday lessons.
The movie was great. I cried. Hard. At one point, Rudy was violently wiping my tears back up towards my eyes. I said, “What are you doing?” “Trying to push your tears back in, Mommy.” Ugh…MAKE ME CRY HARDER, WILL YOU?!?
Afterwards, we were starving, but it was late and not a lot of bars let kids in, so we were limited. We went to downtown Cedar Rapids. It was so cool! The whole vibe was great. We found a super chill joint called “Need Pizza” where the staff was welcoming, friendly, and they served food for a few more hours! Plus, there was a giant fish tank in the back that provided some great fishy jokes and faces! Salads, pizza and beers successfully consumed, we headed out to find a truck stop for the night’s slumber. I’d like to come back to Cedar Rapids and spend some time there. It really seemed cool!