It was 10:40pm, twelve hours and 10 minutes since we left the wonderful 75-degree weather in Telluride, CO., we were home. As my son Brennen stated “You took the longest route possible.” Yes, indeed I did. Partly because I needed to cross off Canyon de Chelly, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater off my bucket list and partly (and mostly) because I love road trips and think there is no better way to have family bonding than in the confines of the limited space of a vehicle, that we arrived safe and sound in the driveway of our home. The hounds were so excited to see us and surprisingly, even to myself, I missed them and was excited to see them both. Thank you Tammy for watching over them for us!
This trip was not without significance for our family. In July of 2009 we took this (minus the side trips) same vacation. Both Brennen and Logan were playing with club ball teams and both participated in the Telluride Wood Bat Baseball Festival. It was a trip to remember. Not only because both boys’ teams did extremely well – 1st place (Logan’s team) and 2nd place (B’s team) finish – but also because it was the last trip we took together as a family. When we were in and out of doctor’s offices with Joe, the oncology surgeon said to us “go and have fun, take the vacation, be with your family, we will schedule everything after that.” To Telluride we went. What a great trip it was.
Two years later, many games, a few changes of team uniforms and colors, here we were again. Telluride Baseball Festival. I could not wait or hold back my excitement. A) Colorado in the summer is beautiful and, B) I could plan the trip and stop at every stop along the way that Joe, we must get from point A to point B with the least amount of stops in between, would never think about stopping at. What could be better? The world’s largest ball of twine exhibit, here we come. So, stop we did.
We left a day early and spent the night in Monument Valley. It was beautiful and Majestic. It was everything I thought it would be and more. Unfortunately my kids did not have my same enthusiasm. After the first three or four stops they opted to stay in the car while I got out and took pictures. What I found funny was the flashback I was having of my family vacation in 1978. We flew out to Arizona from Massachusetts. We went to the Grand Canyon. The first few stops and overlooks were amazing. After that my dad got out of the car (convertible Camero for a family of five, hello??) and took pictures while we all sat in the car, no air conditioner, and waited for the next stop, hoping it would be some place that had a pool or, at a minimal, someplace that had food. At this point I turned to my kids and said, “I have become my dad, I am sorry.” They didn’t know what to make of this. Later that night, as I was trying to fall asleep in the little inn we were staying at, in the middle of seemingly nowhere, I knew what to make of it. I was not sorry I had become my dad, or my mom, I was thankful. Thankful because, looking back, these are the things I remembered. My parents, setting out to do something that was important to them, but at the same time, including the family and trying to make lasting memories. I realize now, unlike then, the world did not revolve around me. It revolved around them. Having a mom and dad who loved each other but at the same time showed us kids daily, that we mattered to them had a lasting impression.
Earlier in my life I would remember this as the family vacation that kept me from the trip with my friends to camp Ponkapoag that year. Now, I remember the trip as an amazing trip with my brothers (who of course breathed on me the whole time which was so annoying) and mom and dad who tried to give us and expose us to the world beyond anything we knew at the time. I appreciate now the fact that they had a priority to each other and what they needed as husband and wife, and to us kids, keeping the bigger picture in mind. I think the best gift and the best example you can give to your children is to show them a healthy love between husband and wife, mother and father.
Which, I suppose at this point in time, is somewhat ironic. Here I am a single, widowed mother of four on a road trip with four kids, trying my hardest to have this particular memory stand out in their minds, years later as adults, as something that will shape their future or at a minimum something that makes them go “hmmm….not going to do that…” Either way, if they look back and go Yes, I want my kids to learn the same thing or NO, HELL NO, I don’t want my kids to go through the same thing as I did!” I will think I did my job. My kids will have something to base their decision on. I think that is the best we can do as parents, whether we are married for years, single because of divorce or single because of circumstances out of our control … give our children the best thing to base their decision on as adults. It may be or not be what we would do but we are not them. It is years later, circumstances are different, times are different. The cards we are dealt are not the same cards they are dealt. The best we can do as parents is do our best and love each other (and by each other I mean your spouse, your friend, your neighbor, and those around you) with the knowledge we have and bank on the theory that “when we know better, we do better.” My hope is that my children, as they reach adulthood, will know better and thus will do better. I will not be angry that they didn’t do as I did, I will not be resentful that they are doing for themselves or for their children, the things I that I couldn’t do. I will be thankful and my prayers will be answered when see them living my prayer “When I know better, I will do better.”
So, as usual the shout outs and things that just didn’t fit in with what I was talking about above, however related or unrelated it may have seemed. …
Sue and Randy … Congratulations! May your love and happiness be an example to your children, yours and his. Including Dani in the celebration of your love and family with a promise ring is an example for all to follow!
Tammy … thank you for jumping in, stepping up and helping me despite the distance between my brother and me.
Lightning Team … thank you for a wonderful finish to club ball before my second baby goes to high school.
Wendy … what can I say? My daily words of wisdom. I love you. Thank you for being my friend for 20 years, okay, 30. Okay, more than that. Let’s not give our age away here.
The original peeps … Maija, F’in Bern, Kari, Tami and Terri, Collen, Kelly … I will always save a beach chair for you! Tami, Happy birthday! The picture of your birthday lunch looked like so much fun even though I didn’t recognize anyone. I miss the days of our birthday teas!
Jim … after enjoying home made ice cream at the Sweet Life in Telluride with my children and their non-stop conversation about it since … thank you for following your passion and providing memories for families with more than just the delicious sweet treat of ice cream in the summer but the memories that go along with it.
My children … Soup, Soup Jr., O and Cal. Thank you for putting up with me. I hope as you read this now you know how much I love you even if you don’t understand it.
Soup … because you asked for a “shout out” even though you have no idea that most of my posts are about you and your brothers and sister…here you go…I love you, my oldest, the guinea pig so to speak. I HOPE I didn’t wreck you. I LOVE you no matter what you may think at times. I have FAITH that you will be an amazing person and that God will shine his GRACE upon you at the times you need it most.
Ron … for loving me despite all the craziness in my life. For making me realize that not only does life goes on but that life can be good, very good. For making me realize that these days are not just something that we need to get through but something that will be a lasting memory for our children so we need to make the most and best of each day because when they are gone, they are gone. You can’t get them back. Cat’s in the cradle.
And finally, to all ... although I love to write, spelling and grammar were my least favorite subjects and usually the courses that kept me from the 4.0 average. I know there are typos, mis-spellings and grammatical errors. Thank you for ignoring and not bringing them to my attention. :)