I live approximately 10 miles from my mother.

That seems like a reasonable distance.  That seems like a good hey-can-you-watch-the-kids-but-don’t-forget-to-call-before-you-drop-by distance.

It’s not a reasonable distance.  Because it’s not an easy 10 miles.

Here’s what I imagine a 10-mile trip to Grammy’s house looks like for normal people:

1) Strap kids in car.
2) Drive for 15-20 minutes.
3) Get out of car.
4) Greet Grammy.

Here’s how our trip to Grammy’s goes:

1) Pack supplies, including extra clothing and diapers just in case of stranding.
2) Strap kids in car.
3) Drive for 15-20 minutes.
4) Get out of car.
5) Walk down slippery, icy, nearly perpendicular ramp to dock while carrying baby and fighting with three-year old about whether hand-holding is necessary (it is).
6) Climb on board boat, panicking that said three-year old will fall down between the boat and dock.
7) Take a 20-30 minute ferry ride.
8 ) Climb back off boat. Repeat panic,
9) Climb up slippery, icy, wet steps to dock.
10) Get in a pick-up of questionable quality.
11) Drive up the hill to Grammy’s house.
12) Greet Grammy.

After a visit of about 4 hours, redress, repack, and repeat everyone and everything, with an extra dose of ferry anxiety just for kicks.

Why do I do this?  Especially in the winter, when we can’t even walk down to the rocky beach and while away the day throwing rocks and beachcombing?  What’s the purpose?

Hard to say, really.  Probably I do it because so many of my childhood memories are of that ferry, that dock, that ramp.  My mother lives in what was my grandparent’s house.  I spent a lot of time playing in that house, sliding down that cellar door, sleeping in the little front room that is now my mother’s office.  I love that house.  I want my kids to know that house.  And I want my kids to know that ferry with its rickety stairs and quirky captains.  I want my kids to know this island.   I don’t spend enough time out there.  I have absolutely no claim to this place.  But it’s my island.  It’s a critical, vital, instrumental part of who I am.  And I want to graft this island, this ferry, and this house into their DNA like it is in mine.

I guess that’s why.

Plus, where else am I going to be able to let my kid wander down the middle of an empty road with absolute abandon knowing that the only thing she is in danger of is tripping over a stray pothole?

That’s worth the unreasonable ten miles alone.