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one family’s sleighride

By enelson
Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 8:43 am in Misc. Transportation.


At times like this, sitting on the train with a laptop and breakfast sitting in front of me, it’s easy to understand why I like my job so much. My life is so deeply enmeshed with modes of transportation that I have to either embrace the concept of mobility or regard it as a haunting dark cloud.

Today I awakened to my mobile phone vibrating against the particle board of my computer desk. It was my wife, having arrived safely at her new job. When last I heard from her, she had been warned that the final flight of her four-leg trip would be delayed until the weekend because of the foot of snow that had fallen on Kabul on Wednesday.

That’s one source of transportation anxiety behind me.

Now I need to focus on Saturday’s 950-mile drive to Canada for a ski trip we planned before we knew that a new job would separate us for Christmas and the next two years. It’s a long drive, and my 17-year-old son still lacks a driver’s license, but the trip will at least offer us a chance to have a conversation longer than 10 minutes before he goes to college in the fall.

It’s fitting that he gets to share 15 hours in the car with me. He’s the reason I commute 67 miles to work, now that his mom no longer works in Sacramento.

As a child, I was uprooted from school and friends several times as my father took new jobs, one of them in Germany, and my mother sought more agreeable living experiences. My difficulty adjusting led to additional moves, so I’d stay one step ahead of the challenge of growing up. My wife had a similar experience, moving to Iran at age 7 and moving back to the States as a teenager.

Now we’re chasing opportunity and our son is trailing us. We’ve tried to minimize the impact and maximize the opportunities. When my wife got her big career break, I hung back for several months until our son completed first grade and, on the way back from living in the Middle East, we enrolled him in a five-week French immersion course in Paris.

So here I am, commuting from the Central Valley so he can finish high school with the same set of friends he made when we moved to Northern California in the summer of 2005. In June, he’ll be out of school and looking forward to attending one of the state’s fine subsidized institutions of higher learning and I’ll be looking for a much smaller place in the Bay Area.

For now, we’ll continue with our travels, long and short, attempting to make the most of childhood’s final Christmas.

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One Response to “one family’s sleighride”

  1. Frequent Amtrak Rider Says:

    Not sure why but this story made me sad. We live in a world that allows us many choices and I wonder if that is really a good thing. I wish you and your family well.

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