The six of us sat for two and a half hours at the Olive Garden in Bismarck, ND. On one side of the table I was on the left, Jill was to my right and my youngest son was to her right. Dad sat across the table from me, Mom across from Jill, and my youngest daughter sat across from her brother. It was the first time I’d been with them since September and for Adam it had been over a year!
Everybody’s meal was good. The service wasn’t the best. (Apparently our server forgot about us in the corner a couple of times.) But the chance to be together and share some stories under the same roof was well worth the three-hour drive to Bismarck.
Mom and Dad caught up with their grandkids. Shared childhood memories. We talked about vacations. I learned that Mom can only remember one vacation as a girl. Her Mom and Dad had cows that needed milking each day, so going away wasn’t an option. Some relatives in Canada finally convinced them to come and visit them for a couple of days at their lake place. So Mom remembers that one and only time on a vacation.
I recalled my memories from a big family vacation we took the winter before I entered kindergarten. We drove from North Dakota to Arizona and I ate my first taco. We went into Mexico for part of one day. The first time I remember being in another country. I remember stopping at Apache Junction in Arizona and saw a gun fight between two cowboys enacted out. (When I was little I wanted to be a cowboy when I grew up.) I remembered picking a grapefruit in the back yard of one of Mom’s relatives living in Arizona. I remember visiting other relatives that had some girls me and my brother’s age. I remembered going to Disneyland and the shrubs trimmed like animals and Disney characters. I remembered meeting Micky Mouse and Donald Duck and Snow White. I remember my 1-year-old sister being shy of Snow White and hiding behind Mom when Snow White wanted to interact with her. I also remember my brother and I getting Mickey Mouse dolls at Disney and maracas in Mexico which we had around the house for years.
Learning Something New
What I didn’t know before today, is that we’d gone to California for my parents to attend a conference. But when they got to the conference, they found out that there wasn’t childcare for us. So they skipped the conference and took us to Disneyland instead. If they hadn’t done that, we would have not made it to Disneyland at all that vacation. I’m really glad Mom and Dad decided to do that, because I have so many great childhood memories that resulted from that decision.
The last thing I remember is getting back home to North Dakota there was still snow on the ground. I hadn’t seen snow for weeks. And I didn’t miss it.
Vacations Still To Come
As a Hero On A Mission (HOAM) I’m learning to place greater and greater value on being with my family and creating memories. Today was a good reminder of just how important that is.
On the drive home, Jill and I talked about some day trips we plan to take this summer to make more memories.