After much thought, I have decided not to ride the Indiana/Illinois segment of Bike the US for MS Northern Tier this summer. I'm a true believer in listening to that inner voice that speaks up at times, saying something just isn't right, and every time I thought about leaving for the Indiana/Illinois segment, that voice spoke up, making me feel doing the ride wasn't the right thing to do this summer. For a long time, I tried to ignore the voice, but the closer the time for leaving approached, the louder the voice became. I finally sat down last week and really examined exactly what I was feeling and why. Truth be told, I'm loving being home. I'm loving working on my gardens and my creative pursuits. I'm loving taking my youngest to marching band practice then listening to him regale me with all the funny stories afterwards. I'm loving going out on my overnight camping trips, my trekking bike loaded with just the bare essentials for one night away from home. I don't want to miss any of this by being gone for two weeks. When I told my dad that I'd decided not to do the ride, my youngest was sitting next to me at the time. His response was an emphatic "Yes!" My dad agreed me being home with my boys is the best choice at this point. I know one day I will do the Northern Tier, the whole distance, but it may not happen until the boys are finished with high school. And now that I've made a firm decision, that inner voice has quieted.
Part of me felt like I was letting my mom down by not riding, but just as I'm a true believer in listening to that inner voice, I'm also a true believer in paying attention to what our dreams offer us. In the early morning hours this morning, I was dreaming I was inside a house that was very familiar to me. It reminded me of the house where we lived when I was a kid, in southern Michigan. I opened a door and found myself in a bathroom. The 1970's black and gold striped decor made me start laughing. I left that room and went to the next door just a few paces down the hall. I opened it to find another bathroom, just as hideous as the first. I laughed more. At that point, I told myself, "I'm dreaming. This is a dream." Then I heard Mom's voice, and I asked, "How are you, Mom?" She answered with, "It's so beautiful here." A calm washed over me. I felt so happy knowing Mom is happy where she is. I woke up then, the calm and happy feeling still with me. Mom's okay.
Every day I go out to ride, my thoughts turn to Mom. Today she and I had a wonderful ride of 41 miles under partly cloudy skies and a slight breeze at our backs for 20 of the 41 miles. While I'm not sure what tomorrow will bring, I do know being right here with my family this summer is exactly where I'm supposed to be.