all this week my lovely daughter and i have been travelling
across the country by car to get to the gender spectrum
conference in berkeley.
we try to take a road trip like this at least once a year
out to california to visit friends and stay awhile in
our mountain home in northern mendocino county.
taking a different route each time affords us opportunity
to really take in the beauty of this country.
but it also gives the mind much time to reflect.
one of the things that occurred to me this time around
is how like a road trip life can be.
there are the long straight stretches of road
that require very little in the way of having to
attend to driving.
these remind me of the everyday parts of life.
the housekeeping, shopping, yardwork, meal preparations,
visits to local parks, zoos, relatives.
all rather second nature, easy come – easy go type activities.
then there are the special things, the road-side attraction type stuff such as an art fair in a nearby town,
an outdoor concert,
a play put on by a local theater group.
such as require a bit more planning to fit them into the ‘trip’.
sometimes there are more hectic parts of life’s journey.
like when one must negotiate a tricky cloverleaf interchange,
or need to exit left across multiple lanes of traffic
filled with other drivers busy with their own concerns,
or simply trying to merge onto a busy freeway.
this last type of driving experience happens frequently in the life zeeona and i share.
because of her unique neuro-diversity
(the doctors call it autism)
at times even the everyday activities can be as tricky as a cloverleaf,
because of her unique gender identity we have had to do the ‘exit left’ sort of manouevers, far more frequently.
and advocating for all her various needs often seems
like trying to merge onto a freeway upon which other drivers,
oblivous to our intents or necessity, little bother to make it easier for us.
we enjoy our roadtrips, both the metaphorical and literal ones.
today is the first day of the gender spectrum conference for which we delayed our annual trip,
coming late instead of early summer.
having seen many new things along our way, we will doubtless enjoy this ‘exit left’ experience since so many other of life’s
travellers are on the same journey.
shared experience of similar life paths can be so rewarding and encouraging.
while zeeona is meeting others her own age who share
in common with her a divergence from the dominant societal norms for gender, i will be learning how to ‘merge’,
by learning from those more experienced and in possession of
more knowledge than myself in the various seminars i will attend.
life is real…so it goes.
i realise that even before zeeona came along, my life had
always seemed to be ‘the road less travelled.’
i’m not sure i’d have it any other way.
and just as the poet of the verse from which this post takes its title,
it has made all the difference!