The Four Roads

My mom is a lucky woman. She just turned 80 in December. She gets to celebrate her daughter’s 60th birthday (not mine!) next month. She’s seen each of her four grandkids graduate from college. And perhaps the coolest thing of all is her ability, via her iPad, Facebook and texting, to keep track of each of them as they continue on their journey.

As a parent and aunt, it is so fun, very interesting, extremely worrisome and always exciting to see what these awesome 20-somethings are doing with their lives, and where their roads are taking them.

So, yeah. One happy, blessed Grandma. Four grandchildren. Four distinctly unique paths.

Starting from oldest to youngest, here are The Four Roads:

Jessica’s road so far is pretty darn smooth and straight. And lush and green.


{Jessica’s road}

Now I’m not one to stereotype — okay, yes, I am, and I’m really good at it. Jessica is the quintessential Southern Belle, who married the consummate, kind Southern Gent, who had thee most amazing wedding atop a mountain in North Carolina.  In their world, every “i” is dotted, every “t” is crossed. Of course it is — they’re educators. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Think, maybe, of  a young George and Laura Bush, but with artistic Instagram posts and pics, Clemson football tickets, airline reservations to Kenya, and a passport on the ready at all times.

Their road is beautifully embellished by a picture-perfect house in a quaint small city in South Carolina, replete with a white picket fence, a wisteria-woven-gazebo, and an adorable, surely-perfectly-behaved cat named Rafiki.

I love Jessica’s and Ben’s serene, time-honored road…

Cassidy’s road is winding, with lots of twists and turns.  And when at a crossroads, she’ll always choose to turn left.


{Cassidy’s road}

She is currently happily working for Nike and living in Portland, via Kentucky, Africa, Nashville, San Diego, The East Coast and Austin. I’m not one to label — okay, yes, I am, and I’m really good at it. Cassidy is our humanitarian/activist/philanthropist.  Kind of Angelina Jolie-meets-Mother Theresa, but in Nike shorts and shoes, and dribbling a basketball.

Her road is accompanied by health food cookbooks, a sketchbook, a curling iron, and more knowledge of the NBA than Michael Jordan or David Stern combined.

I am fascinated by and respectful of Cassidy’s road…

Zach’s road is wild.  Like whiplash-worthy wild.  A sturdy neck brace is highly recommended.


{Zach’s road}

Born and raised in Memphis, college educated in San Diego, he’s had lots of experiences.  He’s surfed all of California, Equador and Costa Rica,  crafted wood ties in San Francisco, and most recently went on a solo “self-exploration” trip through the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Alaska, sleeping in his Chevy Tahoe, subsisting most nights on beer and pork ‘n’ beans, working at an organic farm and a fish processing plant, often not seeing another human being for 48 hours.

Are you getting the picture? Think Grizzly Adams/The Mad Scientist/Kelly Slater (the famous surfer guy) all wrapped up in one persona.

Back to his road.  It took a massive U-turn recently…

So he’s cutting off salmon heads in Juneau, loving life, minding his own business, and out of nowhere. literally and figuratively,  he gets a call from Google. To make a wonderfully long story short, he lands a job with Google, makes a major hairpin turn on his road, and drives 3,000 miles back to Cali and employment!

I am dizzy, exhausted and intrigued by Zach’s road…

Just out of college,  Julia’s road  is freshly-paved, fast, with its share of ups and downs, and Pacific-ocean blue.


{Julia’s road}

Via Gold River and Lexington, she is now employed at Coast Magazine and residing in Newport Beach. That’s exactly what she set out to do, and that’s exactly what she did. (Get’erDone is her middle name.) She can organize her thoughts, her life and her closet (and probably yours, too) in seemingly the blink of an eye. She can stylishly go from Preppy to Classic to Country to Boho in the swipe of a credit card.

She is an amalgam of Jessica Biel, Martha Stewart (in a good way) and a conservative Katie Couric, but with running shoes, her Canon camera, her iPad and a green smoothie stowed away just-so in her Tori Burch-esque tote.

Her road is aesthetically pleasing — she wouldn’t do it any other way — with an abundance of surf, sand, sun and blue sky above.

I am excited for and proud of Julia’s road…


So that’s where The Four Roads are leading. For now. Who knows what bumps and bruises they’ll endure along the way. Who knows what Caution and Detour signs lie ahead.

God only knows…

I mean, Jessica and Ben could end up in a foliage-free flat in NYC. Cassidy could wind up marrying a non-athletic white guy named Sven. Zach could circle back to the fish cannery in Juneau. And Julia might well end up living in a yurt in India, with nary a Bloomingdale’s in sight.

And as for my mom, well, she just has to live to be at least 110… so she can watch with worry (it’s a Barringer thing), wonder and pride as her four grandkids continue on down the road.



6 Responses to The Four Roads
  1. Dorothy
    August 24, 2013 | 5:02 pm

    Really enjoyed this , Jodie! Accurately told and funny… Cannot explain how much I love each of. My grand children I am surely
    Blessed! Each of them do take a different road and I wish they
    Each a smooth ride! Xxxooo!

    • Claudia
      September 1, 2013 | 6:30 pm


  2. Lori Estipular
    August 25, 2013 | 5:17 am


    This is by far my favorite piece you have written. Yes, your family is unique and lovely in so many ways. Compliments to Dorothy and her family. You are all such an inspriration. Your daughters have shared many wonderful memories with our family as well as cleaned many of closets for us and helping us around our house. We enjoy riding as spectators on their journey of life. What a joy to see them prosper. We all have so much to be grateful for.

    Keep writing… you are very talented.


  3. Claudia
    August 25, 2013 | 1:17 pm

    love your talent, Sistah!

    • Diane Bertsch
      August 25, 2013 | 1:58 pm

      Awwww, love it! And love your family, also!!! Great writing and love the pics of the roads, of course.

  4. T.Fowler-Bailey
    August 26, 2013 | 8:21 pm

    Just finally had a minuto to sit and really read this right.. I mean correctly.. I mean..soak each segment in, and as always, Smiling the Whole Enjoyable Way. What a tribute to your Sis, your Mom, all of your hubs and the great parenting along all of the white broken lines on each and every road. 5 Star~ Hugs, T.

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It's true! Despite playing defense virtually all my life against the onslaught of this sometimes-ugly aging process, it...has...arrived! I naively thought I would escape cellulite (the Cottage Cheese) and crow's feet (the Crepe Paper). But I didn't! And why didn't anyone tell me about this emotional roller-coaster that comes with being an Empty-Nester?! My name is Jodie Barringer Myers. I'm a 54-year-old Friday/chardonnay/ hydrangea-loving wife/mom/court reporter living in Sacramento (Gold River!), California. Writing is cathartic for me. And because I look to find humor and humility among the rubble that is my now very peri-menopausal self, I'm hopeful that you will laugh, cry, learn, enjoy and, most of all, relate to what I have to say. After all, we're all in this together, right?

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