My oldest daughter, her husband and family, and my niece and her husband and family are on vacation together after caravanning in their vehicles for over 14 hours to get to the beach in Florida. Just imagining their trip has brought back one of my favorite memories of a trip we took with our crew just 3 weeks after our oldest granddaughter was born to our oldest child. It was memorable for a number of reasons, but the actual trip across the state of Kansas on I-70, headed toward the Rocky Mountains, is what came to mind as I was looking at the picture my daughter sent me of her van full of little ones while on their drive south.
We couldn’t all fit into one vehicle for our trip to the Rocky Mountains, so my husband and our 3 sons and all the snacks I had packed piled into our 7-passenger van, while our 2 daughters, our newborn granddaughter and I travelled in our big ole comfy Buick. We got a late start on our trip because our granddaughter had had a cough for a few days and our doctor recommended we get it checked out before we left; he was concerned about her having RSV, but it turned out to be allergies. So, our original departure time of 9 or 10 am turned into about 4 in the afternoon, causing us to have to drive for several hours in the dark, which is not my favorite thing to do. It had already been a long day by the time we left, and I grew tired of driving much sooner than my husband, so I called him and asked when he thought we’d be stopping for the night with our big bunch of 8.
As I said above, my husband drove our van with our 3 sons in it. And I was driving our Buick with our 2 daughters and newborn granddaughter. As it got dark outside, my daughter, who was sitting in the back seat with her new baby, had to keep turning the light on to keep the baby happy, as every time she turned it off the baby began to fuss and then cry until the light was turned back on. I wouldn’t believe a newborn baby could not want to be in the dark if I hadn’t experienced this for several hours on that trip. With a fussy baby and my two very-similar-to-their-mom girls in the car with me, we were quietly conversing and listening to country music playing softly in the background. Except for the occasional cry from our granddaughter, it was a very quiet trip.
When I called my hubby to inquire when he thought we might stop for the night, though, I got an earful of a completely opposite experience. My hubby and our 3 very-similar-to-their-dad boys had the rock and roll music up so loud I had to pull the phone away from my ear when he answered it. And instead of saying “hello” in the sweet tone I was used to hearing when I called him, the first thing I heard was him yelling at our boys to pipe down so he could hear me! I could only imagine the raucousness going on in that van, as I heard them trying to calm themselves enough to allow my hubby and I to have a conversation.
The next day, as we began unpacking our stuff into our rented cabin, I learned that my 3 sons (and probably hubby, too) had helped themselves to all the sugary snacks I’d packed for us to enjoy over the next week, leaving only enough to last a day or two. I still smile when I remember how crazy they sounded that night, and that I didn’t know why until the next day when I unpacked a nearly empty box that had been filled with goodies before we left. As frustrating as it was to not have the snacks I’d planned on having, and as concerning it was to have my boys be so over-the-top wild and loud, it is still one of my favorite memories of one of our vacations taken together as a whole family.
I’ve been more emotional than usual the past few days, and I think it has been because of the memories of this trip, as well as the time of year it is now. In a month it will have been 7 years since our middle son left us for his eternal home. It feels like it was last month and 7 years ago all at the same time. I don’t understand this phenomenon, but it occurs every year around the anniversary of his leaving. Every year, though, I am more taken by surprise at the intensity and depth of the pain. This year – this past weekend – I was really taken aback by it. After a couple of angry, teary days, I finally realized and voiced my realization to my husband as we sat at Margarita’s Mexican cafe, eating our lunch – “I think we are healed enough to not be prepared when the sorrow over our loss creeps up on us.” We used to be more aware of the days, seasons and times. But over the past few months, we’ve made some leaps and bounds toward healing and been so much happier, lighter and freer than in previous years, so we haven’t been quite as prepared for the anniversary of his passing as we used to be. This is a good thing, but caused us to have a difficult time this past weekend.
All is well, though.
Our youngest child is making another leap into new horizons, career-wise, and seems to be happy and at peace with where she is headed.
Our sons, though no longer three in number, are keeping busy doing construction exactly like their daddy taught them, and are happy doing it, it seems.
Our oldest is vacationing right now with her family and cousins in Florida, and seems to be having a really fun time. She works in the family business and is a full-time homeschooling mom when she is not vacationing!
And Dan and I are plugging along, trying our best to follow God wherever it seems He leads us, thanking Him every step of the way.
Thank you for reading my cherished memory and random thoughts!
Until next time, grace and peace be upon you.