We have just under 1,000 miles to go until we’re home.  We’ve been on the road for exactly 8 weeks.  We have been to 35 states. Everybody’s first question is what has been our favorite place. That’s a toughy because everywhere has been beautiful and fun and an experience we’ll never forget.  It has been an adventure, a trial, a challenge and a very rejuvenating time for us. The last two months we’ve spent together as a family has been “somewhat” healing for us. Time away from reality and spending quality time just the four of us has been ideal.  But the time has come to head home. I have to say I’m dreading coming home just as much as I’m looking forward to it. The harsh reality of getting back to everyday life without Tessa.  Figuring out the new normal.

These last few days leading up to being home have been tough. I’m thinking of her more and more and missing her worse than ever.

One of the things I’m going to miss most is driving with her. The little things. She wouldn’t let me start driving until her seatbelt was completely fastened. Listening to Kids Bop, her yelling at me to stop singing. Looking in my rearview mirror and watching her lipsync to a song as she stares out the window daydreaming- no clue that I’m watching her, trying to concentrate so hard on her so that just maybe I’ll remember this moment forever. Her telling me to turn the radio down to almost nothing when we’re still five blocks from school because she was so embarrassed by the “loud” music. Having me switch cd’s and songs constantly- I can hear her saying “restart it, next one, next one, next one, restart it, turn it up, turn it down- Mom, watch this” (as she showed off to me how well she knew the lyrics to a song) lol. When she would tell us to “be cool” whenever she saw a cop ? Begging me to sit in the front seat- I tried to say no but I usually just ended up letting her. That’s what you do when you have a sick kid. You let them have almost anything they want because you never know. But you do know just how short life can be and so what the hell.

I miss all of her- that face, that laugh, that voice- the way she would yell my name, her smile, her hands, her baldhead, her little butt, the way she smelled. The older she got, the more of a friend she became to me. She was my little buddy, my sidekick that I spent about 95% of my time with. She was my hero and she was turning into such an amazing, strong, kind, loving, little human. I absolutely know she would have done amazing things in her life. Just as she had in her 9 short years. That girl moved some serious mountains. Impacted SO many people. Strangers even. THAT’S what I have to take away from this. THAT’S what we have to keep us going, to get us out of bed in the morning (along with our other two amazing kids xo). To keep us from completely losing it. So that’s what I choose to focus on. Not how pissed I am that it had to be her to be one to make the actual impact.

I feel so proud and lucky that I’m the one that got to be her mom. Just this little girl. Now we have to move forward and make HER proud of US. How we parent, how we treat others, how we try and live our lives to the fullest, how we appreciate the little things, how we don’t lose track of what’s important and especially how we’re trying to help other kids.

So, getting home.  I’m ready. She’s with me, holding me up and pushing me. Rolling her eyes at me and saying “come on, Mom.”

And just for the record, our favorite place was the Northwest -with the Northeast in a close second ?