By Anita Tedaldi
I felt like a child on a sugar high as I sat in rush hour traffic on I-635 in Dallas, laughing inside my mini-van and telling my children how great it was to actually experience the Metroplex traffic first hand. They weren’t too impressed, and asked, “Is there a road with fewer cars? Can we watch another movie?”, but I remained undeterred in my excited, exhilarated state.
After all, I was living my childhood fantasy of being in Dallas.
I’ve spoken before about my fascination with Texas, and this trip only fueled my irrational love for the Lone Star state. I went as far as telling my husband that he simply had to find a way to get to Texas, “Can’t you volunteer for some odd assignment and then end up in Dallas? I’ll take Houston or Austin in a heartbeat!” But I knew that it was impossible, so I tried to talk about something other than my Texas obsession with my deployed husband who didn’t have much time on the phone to hear about the malls and the museums.
I told myself to get off my silly infatuation, but I went back to being that little girl growing up in Rome, dreaming about Texas, which in my mind epitomized the land of opportunities, the best of the American spirit.
I realize that this is completely unrealistic and silly, which part of Texas was I thinking about, a city, a small town? There are so many differences and every place has its pros and cons, but just like a middle school girl with a crush on one of the Jona’s brothers, I immersed myself in my own little Texas crush these last few days.
I almost wish that something minor had gone wrong on our trip. Instead it was better than what I imagined, I met great folks, a few modern day cowboys, beautiful and friendly Texas women, and saw lots of interesting sights in the city and surrounding areas.
I didn’t take this trip because of my fantasy though, we actually went because one of my daughters had a competitive gymnastics camp where she got to work with well known gym coach Valery Liukin and realize her own fantasy of meeting Nastia Liukin, the 2008 gymnastics all around Olympic champion.
My other children had their own little dreams at the sport camps and drama week they attended, and got on board with my Texas insanity. “Mommy we want to live in Texas, things are shiny and new here, not like back home” they repeated ad nauseam in the hotel.
But it wasn’t just our obsession with Texas which made the trip special. It was seeing how much our perspective made a difference in our experiences. For example, when I’m stuck in traffic back home, I dig my nails into the steering wheel at the first sign of cars slowing down. Yet, there’s really no difference between small town traffic and Dallas traffic, except for the number of cars, and my attitude, which is positive in one instance and sour in the other.
Maybe I should work on changing my outlook outside of Texas.
Then again, why go through the effort when I can move to Dallas and exist in a perpetual state of exhilaration?
For now y’all, the military isn’t going to move us there, so I’ll have to make do with pink cowboy boots and my new outrageous hat which looks a bit like this one.
Anita Tedaldi is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of an Air Force pilot. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org