Monday, June 30, 2014
Last week we were away on our, previously scheduled, annual family camping trip. It probably couldn't have come at a better time and was a very necessary retreat. My family has been going to the same park, staying in the same group of cabins, for over 50 years. I have never missed a year since I was 3 months old. Every year, the view is relatively the same, although sometimes the river is higher or lower based on the rain patterns. Some years it is hotter and we spend more time in the river, or colder and then we spend more time hiking. Some years it is rainier and then we spend more time on the cabin porches playing card games. We go with my mother's family, her cousins and my second cousins, and then a smattering family friends. Some years as many fifteen different families are represented.
This is my singularly ideal retreat. When people say, "imagine your happy place", this is mine. I think of the running water gliding over the rocks and the moist air in the mountains. This is my serenity.
There is just the right amount of creature comforts for me. A mattress, flushing toilet, and shower. An oven and refrigerator and an indoor fireplace for chilly evenings. We bring up a coffee pot, but one year when we attempted to bring up a toaster the lights dimmed and the toast took over an hour to brown so we gave up on this luxury. There is no TV, no internet, and no cell phone reception. If you want to leave us a message, you'd call the camp office and they literally write out the message on a piece of paper and thumb tack it to your cabin door. Being "off radar" is now my favorite aspect of the trip. When I was young, my favorite aspect was being able to walk to the different cabins and see my cousins instantly. I cannot wait to share this with our daughter.
For two days, between when he was injured and when he passed, we were planning to bring the recovering Marv with us on the trip. I began imagining him with us in the cabin and taking short walks on the trails, not to tire him out as he continued on his recovery. For two days, I had adjusted my expectations for this year's vacation, and then needed to adjust them again. Instead, we traveled alone and used the retreat as just that, a retreat from the daily memories of Marv and of discussions of how to handle the neighbors and legal issues. It was a nice retreat.
We left a few days early to travel to Minneapolis for wedding. I had spent a year in this city for my internship and this was the city that C traveled to and proposed to me. It was lovely and nostalgic. I saw many of my old friends that I hadn't seen since my own wedding. We walked around the city and visited my favorite places and then discovered some new places. A big part of me longed to move back, remembering how much I had enjoyed this year and forgetting how much I missed my family when I was living there. This long weekend was also lovely.
I had moments of sadness this past week, but was not overwhelmed with it until on the plane ride back home. Back to reality. Back to our empty house, still littered with dog toys and treats and food bowls. Back to tracking down the deputy, dog warden, and deciding on whether or not to get a lawyer involved.
It is usual for me to feel a minor post-vacation depression, knowing that I will be returning to a hectic job and mundane life. Vacationing while pregnant is extra exhausting and traveling in an airplane with nausea is no picnic. However, returning to the home where Marv took his last breathe just over a week earlier has made this especially difficult. I am so grateful that the vacation came when it did, but am not quite ready to return to reality just yet.