It is time for some real talk. Of all the lessons I learned during my OTR experience with Summer (read more about why here), this was probably one of the most powerful. So if you don't like mushy, gushy stuff, if you don't like being getting real, you can skip this blog. It's okay. I understand. But if you can handle it, buckle up.
Being on the Road is a Blessing.
I talk to drivers all the time who mention that they just can't give up life on the road and they can't even put their finger on why that is. Much of it is the idea of release, which, I learned, is a very real experience.
When we were almost to Fargo, my husband texted me. "Our youngest just had a blow out...not the tire kind...in her diaper." Now normally I pick up my daughter from daycare, and normally I get the blow out diapers. I mean, I was in Fargo, ND and he is in Sioux Falls, SD...
So I may have texted back, "Bummer for you! 😂 Have fun! And please don't forget our oldest needs her yellow shirt clean for yellow day at school tomorrow."
He wasn't amused, but he got over it.
Then Summer and I got to talking again. I learned more about the gauges and the dumb things that four-wheelers do, and I saw a beautiful sunset. In the moments of quiet I could finally understand a small part of why OTR trucking is so appealing.
This, I thought, is the blessing of life on the road.
But that wasn't going to be my only lesson.
Being on the Road is a Sacrifice.
Make no mistake, Summer gets to miss some of the ugly moments when her kids are fighting, or the horse stalls need to be mucked out; but she also misses some of the good parts. K&J Trucking is amazing at bringing drivers home for special events and emergencies, but there are everyday things that drivers miss because the very nature of their job means being away from home.
The weight of all these little, everyday sacrifices hit home for me when Summer was talking to her son Boden while we were driving. Boden is 10. On this particular day, he was doing horse chores on their acreage near Freeman when he called his mom.
I could hear his voice through Summer's headset. He was calling because he just wanted to talk and he missed her. The previous weekend Summer had been home, but hadn't seen Boden. He had been out with friends while Summer and her husband Mark took their daughter Autumn to a horseback endurance event. I could tell by his tone he was just missing his mom.
Summer patiently took a few minutes to talk to him while he worked. It was a simple yet deep connection, and it was profound for me.
This, I thought, is the sacrifice of life on the road.
My Lesson: The Double-Edged Sword
For those of you on the road every day, you know this, heck, you live it. But, for me, I didn't take the time to think about what life on the road really meant for truck drivers and their families.
How many of you drivers have missed a child's basketball game? A little league double-header? A piano recital? An 8th-grade graduation? Probably quite a few of you. Sure, you could have asked for the time off, but you didn't. Because you knew that you were needed.
Truck drivers make a sacrifice to be out on the road, but the road has it's own ways of giving back. Whether it is the idea of financial freedom, the ability to get away from the stress of life, or a chance to sleep alone in the rig with the hum of the APU, it certainly isn't all bad.
I wish I had a more grand way to say it than this, but thank you. Thank you for the time and energy you sacrificed so that load of honey could make it to Sioux City. Thank you for the chores your spouse did so that you could drive fresh fruit to my grocery store to feed my family.
I see you now in a way I never did before. And if you will allow me one more sappy line?
I am thankful.
I'm on a quest to be more thankful this month! If you want to join me in my adventure of November thankfulness, click here to join our K&J Trucking Facebook group. I'll be posting my thankfulness (almost) every day and I would love for you to join me!
There's one thing I've learned about K&J in the time I've worked with them: they love their drivers. I have heard over and over again the stories of dispatchers bending over backwards to reroute drivers so they could be home for important events or family emergencies. If you think you might want to join the K&J family, click below to start the conversation.