Highway 20 Ride

I’m a big fan of music that moves a person and I’ve found it in several different places in the last few years of my life. For instance, most people who know me would be surprised that Seether’s “No Jesus Christ” moved me in a big way to keep on keeping on. “Chicken Fried”, by Zac Brown Band, is one of my all-time favorites when my Marines are deployed especially. And, most recently, also by Zac Brown Band, “Highway 20 Ride” has hit me between the eyes.

My husband and I LOVE Zac Brown Band. It’s always played on long car rides, and we jam to just about every song on the album, loudly and proudly.  Turn it up, dance in the seat, sing out loud, and let the wind blow through your hair moments are some of my favorites. But, only one time have I listened to the entire lyrics of “Highway 20 Ride” and every time since then, it is an unspoken rule in our car that the song must be immediately skipped on the CD.

Fast forward to this weekend, when I am feeling particularly lonesome for the whole of me that still lives in Michigan, and a Saturday morning that finds us watching CMT while sipping coffee. He pokes me before I even realize what’s going on and whispers, “You have the remote”. My eyes turn to the television, and all fifty-five inches of it stares back at me … images that I can’t break out of my mind’s eye now.

I don’t know where Highway 20 is; it’s definitely not on my journey to my children. My journey consists of 15 hours in good weather and traffic, and several different highways and toll roads, and always ends me up at a gas station because I’m not welcome at their home, nor even in their community. The journey comes no more than four times a year, but is usually less due to a combination of military restrictions, battles with my ex, and other personal health issues that have gotten in the way. Out of 52 weeks a year, I am promised 6 weeks by the court, but have only seen a maximum of 4 weeks per year since we started on this journey.

I don’t know what Noah wore to school today, or how he’s dealing with middle school, really truly. My son is the most amazing “I’m all good, Mom” kind of kid when I talk to him on the phone because he’s the strong one. He’s more concerned about making sure I know Rhyan could fall down the stairs easily now that she’s trying to walk, or why I was sick last week and whether I went to the doctor, but he always remembers to tell me his grades are good and he’s learning a new piece of music on the trombone. Faith surprises herself on a weekly basis to be excited about art and it delights her to no end that we have this factor in common. She remembers to tell me details of her latest art project in school, but the smaller things I never know – like, how is her eczema, what did she eat in the cafeteria today, and do her socks match? (She has a tendency to forget the small things.) Chloe has a very hard time concentrating long enough to tell me much of anything because her father distracts her by tickling her every time she’s on the phone. The one thing she can remember as often as I have her on the phone is to ask to talk to Rhyan, and then they giggle with delight at each others’ sounds.

I have very little to hold on to with my children, but the small things are sometimes the most important and I will never forget the emotions I go through on my drives to and from their visitation. I get so wide-eyed with excitement that I can make that drive in 12 hours, even in a blizzard. I know the right coffee shops to stop at along the way and even if Chris is in a combat zone, I will make the whole drive on my own without stopping because my heart is racing. And then, the moment I have to whisper my “see you laters” (for, as I’ve taught them, there are NO goodbyes in life) my eyes well up with tears, my body aches, and I can not seem to see the sunshine streaming down on my face.

Thank you, Zac Brown Band, for putting my feelings into motion in a song, and helping me remember I’m not the only parent that struggles with this. And to my beautiful, amazing, resilient, children – It IS the pleasure of my life, my moments with you.


I ride east every other Friday but if I had it my way
Days would not be wasted on this drive
And I want so bad to hold you
Some of the things I haven’t told you
Your mom and me just couldn’t get along

So I’ll drive
And I’ll think about my life
And wonder why, I’ll slowly die inside
Everytime I turn that truck around, right at the Georgia line and I count the days and the miles back home to you on that Highway 20 ride

A day might come and you’ll realize that if you could see through my eyes
There was no other way to work it out
And a part of you might hate me
But son please don’t mistake me For a man that didn’t care at all

So I’ll drive
And I’ll think about my life
And wonder why, I’ll slowly die inside
Everytime I turn that truck around, right at the Georgia line and I count the days and the miles back home to you on that Highway 20 ride

So when you drive
And the years go flying by
I hope you smile
If I ever cross your mind
It was a pleasure of my life
And I cherished every time
And my whole world
It begins and ends with you
On that Highway 20 ride…


3 thoughts on “Highway 20 Ride

  1. Megan,
    Although my kids were older when Tom and I divorced – I can relate somewhat to what you are going through. Terry was a senior and decided to stay in Michigan to finish his senior year at Midland Christian, Rachelle lived with my sister for a short time then decided to move back to Michigan to live with friends (against my wishes) but her dad gave his permission and Kyle my youngest and in the 7th grade decided he wanted to live with his dad (he let him do whatever he wanted) so I went from a family of 5 to a family of 1 – never knowing when I would see any of them. They all blamed me for the divorce so they were all mad at me and could care less if they saw me at all. I say all that only to encourage you to keep on doing your best because today I have a great relationship with all 3 of my kids. Who do they call when they need advice – need encouragement for just need to talk – they call me. When they have good news or bad news they let me know first. When they come into town they stay with me and I could go on and on. I believe that all happened because I did my best to stay in contact with them and to not talk bad about their dad (even though that was very hard). The thing is I didn’t have to because the older they have gotten they know what their dad is like and now see the reason behind the divorce without me having to say a word. I know that this probably doesn’t help you right now with the pain that you feel – but I hope it helps you to see that someday they will see and understand and you will have a relationship with your kids beyond what you ever thought or dreamed. Lisa

  2. Not to take away from the seriousness of this post (but I’m going to, as I feel that is often my place in life!)… but you are awesome. Okay, that’s not how that was going to start, but whatever. I was just reminiscing about our 12-13 hour drives, the Duchess shops, F the penny, the Marathon station in the middle of nowehere, mountains, etc. And you are correct, there is definitely no Highway 20 on that route. We should know! I love you, Lady, and maybe someday we can take a roadtrip again under better circumstances…. and someday I also need to meet your husband!

  3. Megan,
    My husband and I are divorced. I have custody of our daughter and he has visitation rights. We are very much co-parents and I totally support her relationship with her father. No matter what he did to me his relationshio with her is totally different than my relationship with him. I never talk bad about him in front of her (even when I just want to strangle him) because that isn’t fair to her. I grew up from divorced parents and it was hard to hear my parents talk bad about each other so if I can make it easier for my daughter I will. I’m sorry that your ex g feels the need to keep you from your children because it isn’t fair to them. Just hold on to the memories and the times you do get to see them and when they get older they will understand!!

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