If we go out the back door, Devil Baby’s pre-school is two and 1/2 blocks or less.

And today, I drove.

It is the life we have now.

I look at bicyclists, their cool bags and their commitment to the environment and I hate them. I don’t hate them because they are hard to see, I don’t hate them because they are self-righteous (because most, if not all care more about the planet than themselves), I don’t hate them because they are in good shape.

I hate them because I don’t have the choice to be them, anymore. I look at my burley, and I think about how hard I tried to be car free. I look at my sick kids, both diagnosed with congenital lyme disease and on heavy treatment, and I am frustrated that we can’t bike to the beach anymore. Granted, it was really hard to do that and we fought every time we went out as a family, but I miss the choice.

What I do have, besides my hatred for bicyclists (you all know this is my hurt heart and not personal, right?), is an awareness that will never go away, even if I get my health back.

Driving is a luxury. Driving has high costs. Driving should be a conscious choice.

I am deep in grief today about my losses. I look at the commuters in the new bike lanes and I smile like I am one of them. I am not. I am, instead, the one responsible for blowing my exhaust into their lungs.

I have been a car owner, again, for one year. I have ridden the bus a few times in the past year. I’m not riding it at all in the winter, because our fragile immune systems don’t need the stress of sick people who ride the bus even though they should be home in bed. The Big One still rides it home, but he can’t ever get up early enough to catch the bus to school.

I no longer feel guilt about giving up my quest to be car free. I now see it as my way to connect. Having a serious, chronic illness is isolating. Throw into that, a whole family full of sick people, and it isn’t any easier to stay connected to community. Driving is what keeps me connected now. Not as connected as I was when I was living in my community, riding my community and valuing my community by refusing to pollute it, but still, it keeps me connected in a new way. I can get to the co-op, to school, to the thrift store. I can drive to the neighbors, and bring Devil Baby’s school chums home, even though we don’t have the energy for play dates.

We do what we can. And in another year, we all hope to be a little more well.

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