Family · Parenting · Perspective

Family Road Trip to the San Luis Valley

I left Friday for a long road trip to Colorado for my uncle’s memorial. He was a doctor in the San Luis Valley for decades and delivered somewhere around 1000 babies over the years. He loved tie-dye, bright colors, Christmas lights, Halloween costumes, camping, hiking, celebrating, playing with us as kids and in the past 10 years with his grandkids and great nieces and nephews.

Typically a 9-10hr drive, packed into the car with my sisters, mom, dad, and mom’s cousin Jane, we meandered our way across the plains to the foothills and finally to the San Juan mountains. 13 hours later…. we pulled into Del Norte, Colorado.

mtnSeeing the mountains = winning.

Family road trip = winning.

Stellar soundtrack with my very talented musical family = winning.

EXCEPTIONALLY slow food service everywhere we stopped which added 2.5hrs to our road trip = not winning.

Fantastic historic boutique hotel with its own pastry chef providing the morning fare- 5 stars! Gorgeous room and soft bed = winning.

Hotel booked solid- only having a king, 3 people, and only a cot for person #3 = not winning. I took the first night on the cot. Multiple people commented on how tired I looked Saturday. My sister took the second night. She declared it Satan’s cot and told me I was too gracious about it the previous night. It gave her false hope.

Getting to see my cousins, aunts, uncles, and mom’s side of the family = winning.

Being able to reminisce, share memories of my uncle, and truly celebrate his life = winning. — At the end of my life, I hope people are celebrating the love, kindness and grace that I try to live with daily. Sad? Yes but definitely a life worth living!

Meeting an interesting woman at the coffee table in the hotel early on Saturday morning who practices small animal (cats specifically) veterinary medicine in Hong Kong but originally hails from South Africa and is taking 5 days to take in the scenic drives of southwest Colorado before a cat conference in Denver = winning.

I know that was a HUGE run-on sentence, but she was fascinating. We discussed different cultures and how it reflects on pet ownership, politics (respectfully) in South Africa & USA, how to put gas in a vehicle in the US (not full service as in SA), and my obese, “big boned” 15 year old, 18lb house cat who blew out a knee six months ago. Conversation with her was a spectacular way to start my day. <– I do officially strike up a conversation with almost EVERYONE I meet (Uber, coffee shop, etc) if they appear receptive after a “good morning.”

Ending the day with pizza (non-dairy sandwich for me), catching up with cousins, some intense games of pitch, and s’mores on the campfire = winning.

My family is fantastic. For all our distance, differences, and a long time-lapse between visits (close to two decades for some), they are MY family.

Missing my daughter’s cheer camp performance = not winning.

Being told by 5 different people, each in a different circumstance, that my children have “been a handful,” “kept them quite busy :(” and “are not behaving on the school bus.” All while I’m away for this memorial service… = not winning.

This was dealt with yesterday upon my return home. I did not react in a “winning” fashion. Not mom of the year. However, I do think we will see better behaviors, better choices, and hopefully less sibling nit-picking for a little while.

We packed up early Sunday morning. It was 18 degrees F!!! (Can you picture how big my eyeballs are right now!!!) So cold, or shall I say brisk with the wind coming down off the mountains!!!

Our road trip back was a bit more subdued, but did still involve a lot of singing to my DJ Jazzy Jen skills. Everyone was tired – notice the prevalence of glasses instead of contacts. My dad actually let my sister drive my vehicle = winning.

I am blessed to have the loving, supportive family I have. Nobody was forced to get out and walk on our l-o-n-g drives to and from. We did have the running joke that cousin Jane was out if we found some good antiques. All in good fun! We love cousin Jane!

Every family, every trip, every story has its bumps and curves. It’s winning and not winning moments. Fortunately, we pull together for these bumps and hold on tight for the sharp curves. If you ever get the opportunity to load up and take an adults-only family road trip, I highly recommend it!

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