Driving to the Jersey shore is usually an ordeal . The traffic is insane and every driver seems to think they are on a Nascar racetrack and trying to reach the finish line first.
Every summer, for the last ten years we have taken our yearly famil vacation off exit 63 of the Garden State Parkway. Last summer I was recuperating far away, but life gave me a chance to rejoin the family this year. So I was eager to make this time stress free..enjoy every second, from beginning to end.
I left super duper. Early to avoid the Jeff Gordons of the world. My plan worked beautifully; it was smooth sailing the entire way. Yay!
You have to cross a few bridges and then you will be greeted with a welcome sign. When I saw it this I actually got choked up. For me it as a sign of peace, contentment and relaxation. A place to find my spirit again in surroundings which are food to my hungry soul- family, beach, bike paths and sun. My space to soak in the sun and positivity.
Another place I always looked for the sign is exit 4 on 287. This sign will forever mean home to me even though I lived there less years than I haven't. It is the exit to my childhood home and kazillion memories are stored there. Although the area has gotten much more populated than when we lived there as a family, I still can see the little card store I walked to for my one cent Bazooka gum. Yes- one cent and a much larger "gob" of gum than what you get now for a lot more (comparatively speaking).
I get the same feeling when I pass the Riverdale exit, where my grandparents lived. My heart aches with love, honor, respect and loss. I remember each time we went to visit them after we moved and when we used to live there. I spent my first six years of life in the Bronx, so the area still feels so familiar. I doubt this will ever change.
As I was heading home today, I thought about how the signs just don't look the same when you're driving away from them....
But you leave one sign behind and another appears. I leave one journey behind and my next one begins tomorrow. A sign I'm ready to move forward....