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Ohana Means Family

December 8, 2013

Road trip!

My family flies over to visit me. This is the third time they’ve seen me this year but they obviously miss me too much to stay away. This is understandable. I would miss me too.

I decide to make it an extra special visit for them and offer to take them on a road trip down to Albany. They are all excited about it and tell me what a good idea that is. I am full of good ideas!

My dad starts planning the boring logisticky details while I begin a list of sights to see and games to play in the car. I ring a friend who grew up in Albany to request recommendations of picturesque places where my family can take photos with me.

Tilmonster paws at me while I’m thanking my friend.

“Stop interrupting, I’m on the phone!” I snap at her. The dog has no manners.

She paws at me more insistently, using some claw for good measure.

“I’ve got to go. I’m being mauled,” I tell my friend, then turn to Tils. “What, you demon, what?!”

“Do you think I’ll get to chase a kangaroo?” she asks eagerly. “And should we take my ball or do you think there will be plenty of sticks to play fetch with?”

Oh. This is awkward.

“Tillybilly. Puppydog,” I try to use my kindest voice. “I was thinking that it would actually be easier if we go without you. I’ll drop you back at your parents’ before we leave. We play fetch at the park all the time anyway. And we can always go look for a kangaroo another time, yeah? You see, there won’t be space in the car for you. And it’s hard to find dog-friendly accommodation. It’s just the practical thing to do. You understand, don’t you?”

Til stares at me for a long beat. I walk out of the room and give her space to see the logic of what I’ve said. It might be tough but it’s the decision that makes the most sense. She will just have to grow up and deal with it.

I start working on a playlist for the journey down. It’s a 4½-hour drive so we’ll need plenty of songs. I hum to myself as I go through my songs. We’ll sing along together in the car with the windows rolled down! Our aura of happy familyhood will waft out and bless all the other cars! In fact, everyone who sees us will want to do a family road trip of their own too!

I show my family the list of places we can check out and our sing-along playlist. My parents look at each other awkwardly.

“The thing is,” my dad begins kindly, “there are six of us and just your little car. We were thinking that it would actually be a lot more convenient if you don’t come along. You live here anyway, so you can go to Albany another time. It’s just a numbers thing. You’re fine with that, aren’t you?”

My heart shatters.

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