We drove up to the mountains late Sunday night. It was too dark to see the beautiful scenery, but I knew it was there. I have done this drive enough times that I can picture each view and landmark in my minds’ eye.
It was after 10pm by the time we pulled in and piled out of the car. The kids got crazy excited when we arrived. It was a challenge to get them to bed. Once they were down I began unloading our gear and setting up for our week.
I had packed breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks. We brought our favorite games and crafts. Then I added snow gear, hot tub gear, and everything in between. Late that night I carried in the last of our supplies and paused to take it in. We had never been here by ourselves before. I had never gone on vacation before, just the four of us. Then another thought occurred.
This mountain, this house, this spot.
It was the last place where we were a family of 5. The unraveling was here. I hadn’t thought about it before I arrived. I have a picture in my phone of the five of us sitting around the table, 2 years ago. Hours after that picture was taken, a turn of events occurred that meant our lives would never be the same. In a sense, it is amazing that everything can change on a dime like that, and yet it didn’t change on a dime like that. It just appeared that way.
I poured a cup of coffee and fired up my laptop. Maybe I could write about this?
No internet service.
Nothing left to do but sit with it.
I reflected on all that has transpired over the past two years. A move, a job change, new schools, new schedules, new friends (and old ones too). In some was things are very different, and in some ways the same. I mentally hold up the mirror and compare the reflection of the old Dana to the new one. The old family to the new one.
The next morning starts early, whether I want it to or not. I hear chattering and giggling, and the tell-tale thumps of kids at play. Before long little feet hit the stairs and I’m smothered in warm squirming bodies. They are ready to go. Ready for the day, ready for adventure, and ready for breakfast.
We have a favorite café in town so we know where we are headed. We chat over French toast and pancakes. We discuss our plans, watch a couple of hilarious you-tube videos and fight over the syrup. Near the end of our meal, an older couple, who was sitting behind us during breakfast, approaches our table. The woman looks me in the eye and leans in,
“You have such a beautiful family.”
Tears immediately spring to my eyes as I thank her. She could not know the gift of her words.
Strong. Smaller. Different. Changed. Joyful. Complete.
All she saw was beautiful. 🙂