The pumpkinhead loves maps. She studies the atlas like she’s preparing for a geography test. We use imaginary maps to guide us around the block when we walk the dog. She has a large U.S. map in her playroom marked with all the places she's been. When I’m driving, she draws maps for me on her sketch pad or consults her laminated map of the U.S. (in reality, this is a placemat) that she keeps stashed in the back seat. She saw an Etch-a-Sketch at the toy store recently and sat right down in the aisle and drew “maps” for 20 minutes. She's a little map freak.
Before her obsession with maps started, she would constantly ask me if we were lost. Walking the dog – “Mommy, are we lost?” Going to the store – “Mommy, are we lost?” Going to her school along the same route we take every day - “Mommy, are we lost?” I don’t get lost a lot, and I certainly don’t freak out when I do get lost, so I’m not sure what had her so worried about being lost. Now that I think about it, maybe she wanted to be lost so she could whip out a map and save the day.
A few months ago, we went to a bridal shower in a rural area where I had not been in several years. Despite my pre-planning and googled addresses and hand-drawn maps, we got a little lost. My sister-in-law and niece were in the car with us, so there was some discussion about which way to turn and which road we were supposed to be on. Ya know – talk about being lost. Simone had been to a bridal shower before, and really enjoyed it (she was one of only a few kids there, and she got to wear a little tiara and help open gifts). So she was eager to get to get to this one, and being lost was not sitting well with her. We finally found our destination and a great time was had by all at the much-anticipated shower. We even made it back home without getting lost again.
A couple of weeks later, it was time for the wedding of the recently-showered bride (haha). We were to meet the rest of our family at my aunt’s house, which is in the same area where I had not been in several years, save for the little foray mentioned above. Encouraged by my recent re-acquaintance with the area and armed with the cute little map that came with the invitation, we set off. Because I’d told everyone I knew where to go, I had my two brothers and their families following me. A little parade through the country. The country with spotty cell service.
My, how time has changed the landscape out there. Roads were paved, trees had grown, houses were built, barns were removed, blah, blah, blah… This time, we were more than a little lost. It was so bad, my brothers stopped following me. Really. They just stopped their trucks on the side of the road. Little did they know my cousin was giving me directions through a series of dropped calls. They reluctantly agreed to follow me after they found out I had outside help. AAAARRRUUUGGGHHH, brothers! At some point during the parade through the changed countryside, Simone asked me for the cute little map from the invitation. I felt that I was done with it, so I handed it over. Maybe she could make some sense of it.
Eventually, we made it to our aunt’s house and followed someone else from there to the wedding. On the way to the church, the pumpkinhead informed me that she couldn’t find the cute little map. That was fine with me. It only served as a reminder of my dismal navigating skills that afternoon. The wedding (Simone’s first) was beautiful and we all had a great time once again.
After the festivities, Simone and I got in the car to head home (without our entourage this time). She immediately began asking whether we were lost. Ummm, no. I’d gotten explicit directions to the highway, and may have been following one of those brothers who so recently had lost confidence in me (did you ever have any, really?). Anyway, as I was concentrating on getting back to familiar territory, it was very quiet in the back seat. After we were well on our way and I knew where we were going, my little pumpkinhead announced that she had drawn us a new map so we wouldn’t get lost again. Great. Thanks for the support.
Here is Simone’s map, and next is the cute little map from the wedding invitation*, that I found under the driver’s seat the next day. Not bad, eh?