Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Vacation

The trip... oh, the trip.  I had the best of intentions on making this my travel diary, as my dear husband's sweet mother does when they go fun places.  "I'll just carve out time at the end of/before the day" I thought.  Silly, silly girl!

As of 9:30 last night, we are back in Groesbeck.  We had a nice trip back, with the kids being cooperative and sweet for the most part on the five and a half hour journey from northwest Oklahoma City to central Texas.

I could go on and on about the things we did, the places we went, but the details aren't that exciting.  Most of what I have to report is that we found a nice place to stay for a decent price, the kids loved swimming, the zoo is nice but not the same as I remembered (although the elephant part is pretty rockin'), and there is a ton of stuff built in what used to be fields when I was a kid (great for shopping, bad for those of us who like things like grass and trees).  We found my elementary school, that it was re-named, and looked like it hadn't been painted since I walked out of it in the spring of '88.  It did, however, have the addition of lovely metal mesh over the windows, meant to act as bars.  Looked more like a prison than a lower elementary school.  Let's just say my kids would NOT darken the door of that place these days!

It was a great vacation!  No, we didn't go to an amusement park, water park, or resort.  The closest we came to a beach was driving by Lake Hefner and pointing out the sailboats.

The vacation came in the people we saw, laughed with, and talked with.  It came in reliving some of the things my mom and I used to do when I was a kid.  We lived in OKC or at least in the area from the time I was about a year old to the end of the fourth grade.  I think, since then, we went back twice together, and I went once to meet my great aunt to travel to Enid.  That last trip was when I was a sophomore or so in college.  Needless to say, things have changed a bit.

But of all the things we did, the thread that ran through them all wasn't what we did, or how we did it, or how showy or expensive or impressive it was (because we're not like that), but it was why.

We went the places we went and did the things we did to show the kids and Eric where I grew up for the first nine years, but what we came away with was something we didn't see coming.  I found myself telling Eric and the kids and my sister and her husband, as I jumped up and down in the mall, why I was so danged excited about a gyros place in the food court that was still next to the pizza-by-the-slice place.  I found myself telling them about why we were going to get ice cream after looking at the place where I went to school.

Then I found myself, deep down, thinking that it wasn't that big of a deal.  That maybe I wasn't doing enough fun for the kids.  Maybe this was just a bit of egocentrism on mommy's part.

Then, in almost the next breath, I realized that it IS a big deal.  This isn't just the way mommy grew up. This is an example of "we" being more important than things.  Than money.  Than prestige.  All those places, all those things we used to do, were important because mom and I did them together.

The worth this vacation isn't measured in how much we spent or where we went or how long we stayed or how pampered we were or how much sleep we got.  It's measured in smiles, hearts, hugs, and late nights up talking, early mornings up laughing.  It's in telling and showing my husband and kids how hard my mom worked and where her priorities were.  It's in overcoming the loss of our matriarch... our dear Nanny, our Carlene, our sister, our mother, our grandmother... and showing that the love we have for each other brings us together.  Not convenience, not anything but endearment to one another brings us together.  The love God gave us for each other through life.  I was honestly worried that we'd not get together again.  I was worried that we wouldn't because somehow, Nanny was always the hub of such things.  I'm not worried anymore.

So I'm proud that I took my kids driving around till we found my school, then got ice cream just like Mom did with me for a big treat.  I'm tickled pink that they still had the pizza place and the gyros place next door where we'd share a piece of baklava every now and again.  I'm excited that I was able to show my kids where their Granny and I used to live, and remind them how much she loved me and cared for me, even though times were hard and money was tight.  But there are two things that stick out in my mind as amazing, special, choking back the tears of joy times that I didn't see coming.

I got to have lunch with my kids, my husband, my mama, my sister, and my great aunts and great uncle, all at the same table.

Ryan's uncle Eric, my brother in law, told Ryan he couldn't get in the "bubble pool" (it was waaay too hot for kids) and he said, "Why, uncle Eric?"  Over and over, he asked the same question... but if you know us... if you know Ryan... you know how huge that is.

So yep, we had a fabulous vacation.  Thanks be to God for the time we had with some of my very favorite people in the world.

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