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Getting Lost, And What We Found There

The girls and I drove my mom to the
airport last week, and I got lost on the way home.

Yes, I grew up here, and yes, I’ve been to the airport a
million times, but cut me some slack: first off, I’ve never
been to my NEW home from the airport (except when we first moved
here from New York and other people were driving so that
didn’t count), only to my childhood home, which is a
different highway; and second, there are a lot of $#@#ing new
highways here since I left twelve years ago!

I figured I’d wing it, not bothering to look up directions;
after all, I got TO the airport just fine, all I had to do was
reverse it! But somehow I ended up meandering through unbuilt toll
roads and half-finished state highways until I was thoroughly
confused. I knew the general direction we wanted to head –
north and east about forty miles – and figured that I’d
eventually run into SOMETHING familiar heading that way, even if it
was Oklahoma, so I just continued driving and pointing the car
towards Points East.

But after a good fifteen minutes with nary
a familiar landmark in site, I had to admit I didn’t know
where we were. I exited my latest attempt at a highway and veered
east, vowing to find a drive-through whatever and figure out where
we were and find a bona fide highway toute de suite. After passing
several hayfields I finally found a street sign, and almost fell
out of my seat when I realized I recognized the name! I was on the
right track, and knew if I stayed on the street we’d
(eventually) end up near home, so I decided to continue taking the
“scenic” route. That, and when I called my daddy for
help, he had the nerve to be in a meeting, so I didn't have much

Cora was blissfully asleep (I swear, that car seat is like a drug)
and Maddie was happily singing along to her church music, munching
on her dried mango, when she suddenly shouted, “Look, Mommy!
Bluebonnets!” I looked out the window, and lo and behold
there was a field of the Texas state flower in full bloom before
us. I’d been telling Maddie the legend of the bluebonnets for
about a week and she was awed to see them so close. At the end of
the field was a sign indicating a nature preserve, complete with
easy parking. “Mommy, can I see them up close?”

What the heck.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those moms who can go with
the flow, do things on a whim which are fun, entertaining, and just
plain cool. We three girls had nowhere to be and nothing to do but
lunch and nap. Our schedule could afford a bit of a glimpse of a
nature preserve.

After making a u-turn we parked and got out, the gravel crunching
under our feet. Cora, contented from her power nap, sat happily on
my hip as we walked around sizing up the preserve. I spied some
great-looking trails but knew we weren’t prepared (not enough
goldfish in the bag), but thankfully we found the playground and
hit the swings.

Maddie loves discovering new playgrounds and keeps a catalog of all
of them in her mind, and I could see this would be the
“bluebonnet park” playground. We slid, we swung, we
chased each other. Cora laughed, she toddled, she ate grass, while
Maddie explored and made insta-friends on the twisty slide. We went
over to the bluebonnet field where Maddie and Cora frolicked
happily and I vowed to ALWAYS carry my camera from now on. Cora
committed a small felony as she stripped a bluebonnet out of the
ground (NEVER pick a bluebonnet - $500 fine. Don’t mess with
Texas.), which prompted a lecture from me and a furtive burying of
the evidence. And before we went home, Maddie couldn’t resist
somersaulting in a particularly yummy-looking field of clover.

We loved it so much we brought Daddy back over the weekend, walking
some of the nature trails and exploring the streams and fields
further. I love finding these gems hidden in a city I think I know
so well, and having the time and freedom to explore them with my

I just hope Maddie doesn’t expect to hit that park after
every trip to the airport; I don’t think I could find it
again from the airport if my life depended on it.


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