Our best times together seem to involve car rides and music. When she was a toddler, we drove to pre-school listening to songs from the Jackson Five. She knew all the words by heart and her voice was beautiful.
Years later I would drive her back and forth to the boarding school she attended in Connecticut. The trips usually started in silence, but eventually she would open up and share with me all of her experiences since the last time we had been together. She would play the latest songs she had downloaded from iTunes and soon would start singing along, interrupted from time to time when I asked her the name of the song or the artist. Abby preferred driving over flying, but felt badly that when I drove her to school I would have to make the trip home by myself. One Christmas her present to me was five CDs containing a mix of the songs she played when she was in the car with me. It is to this day one of the best presents I have ever received.
Facing a long trip home, our goodbyes were brief and after I left I always regretted that I had not said more to her before heading south.
When she moved to Chicago the car trips stopped until this weekend when we rented a car and drove northwest from Baltimore and directly into Winter Storm Ion. Abby helped with the driving through Pennsylvania and Ohio. When we reached Indiana the storm was in full force and I took over, driving single file at forty miles an hour on a snow-covered I-90. Abby plugged her iPhone into the dashboard and shuffled to find the first song we would hear that day:
What were the words I meant to say before you left?
When I could see your breath lead where you were going to
Maybe I should just let it be and maybe it will all come back to me
Sing, oh, Janu, oh January, oh. *
She knew all the words by heart and her voice was beautiful.
When we reached her apartment we unpacked the car and said a brief goodbye. As I drove to the airport I regretted again not telling her how proud we are of the woman she has become.