Day 5: Coping Mechanism duJour – Play Journey’s Greatest Hits at Deafening Levels.

It’s true – we are making extra loud noise just because we can. A few nights ago night we took strange special joy in letting our other two kids bicker and poke each other incessantly in the car, something we could seldom do because the sensory overload would be too much. And when my husband downloaded and cranked the volume on Journey’s Greatest Hits I didn’t need to ask why or tell him to turn it down. Journey is music from the past, with memories entirely adolescent and totally devoid of any reminders of the empty bed in the house.


It takes me back to Michigan summers, the Stony Lake Bar, Vernor’s, fried mushrooms and double cheeseburgers. Journey playing on the jukebox, us playing Ms. PacMan in the corner, and an endless stream of Camp Miniwanca gossip. My friend Sooz and I contemplated the merits of VW busses held together by duct tape, Gore-Tex, and why anyone would say “INsurance” when they meant “inSURance.” We laughed at teen-aged girls who earnestly discussed the finer tasting points of their favorite beer: Bud Light. I had a psychic reading done in that bar that, in hindsight, told me absolutely nothing. Sooz is still in our lives, witty and wise in ways we could never have foreseen.

And there were late nights driving through the Western Michigan corn and asparagus fields, windows down, music blaring. One night the moon was so large and full we turned off the headlights and drove only by the light in the sky. I still have my National Asparagus Festival tee shirt, the one that says Every Inch Edible – now that my eldest is the same age I was when I did and wore such things, I recommend neither the no-headlights trick nor the slogan on the shirt. But we sure had fun.

And now we drive through New England orchards in broad daylight, windows down and Journey blasting again as my teens sing at the top of their lungs and play air guitar – and when we go to the movies they make me play Ms. Pac Man because they can’t quite believe that I can kill at it.

Maybe everyone else has been doing this all along – cutting loose, being loud – but it’s new for us and it feels good in a way that keeps us from feeling sad about the boy we miss.

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