Have you ever been so tired that everything around you seemed funny? Well, that's exactly how Jim and I were feeling by the time we made it to Chicago. Emotionally drained and totally sleep deprived would be an accurate description of us in the early hours of that Sunday morning as we pulled into the gas station. Yes, the laughing started when we exited our car and froze our bums while attempting to fill the gas tank, but that was only the beginning of what turned into an uncontrollable scene that played out in the frigid air of the aptly named Windy City. No matter what we tried to say, we were not able to restrain our laughter...merely looking at each other sent us into a powerless mass of giggles. At one point Jim commented that the gas station attendant was going to think we were having trouble keeping our behavior under control because we were on drugs. Well, those words of warning certainly fell on deaf ears, while encouraging our creativity to run wild as we began constructing possible headlines for our local newspaper...First Grade School Teacher Arrested With Husband in Chicago on Possible Drug Abuse Charges! Just the thought of that headline did anything but rein in my hysterics. In fact, not only was I not laughing in a normal manner, but I was doubled over, letting out a snort that sounded a lot like a pig...oh my!
After making it safely back into our car, I had to admit that all the unleashed outpouring of silliness was exactly what I needed in order to shake off the emotional upheaval of the previous twenty-four hours. I felt like a dog who just had been given a bath and needed to shake free all the annoying leftover water dripping off its back. I was no longer burdened by the emotional release that had taken place within the confines of our car for the last fifteen hours.
When we finally made it home, we slept for the rest of the day. There was no way I could spend my first day of school exhausted, so sleep was a necessity. It felt strange that we didn't need to ask Jessica to turn down her music to help give us the quiet we needed. Instead, our house already seemed too quiet. Is that how our "empty nest" was going to sound without the activity and energy of a teenager? It was most definitely a time of transition in our marriage, and I wanted us to take this transition slowly, hoping that going slowly may take away some of the "sting" of loss and replace it with new possibilities for us to explore. Yikes! Jim and I having more one-on-one time together...oh my!