As kids, we’re sort of blissfully unaware of the passing of time. In fact, we’re sort of blissfully unaware of a lot. It’s not until we are adults that we can look back and realize those things that played fundamental roles in our upbringings. Sometimes it’s a smell or sight that makes us flash back to those moments that shaped us. I had such a moment on our trip to Breckenridge a couple weeks ago.
My family almost exclusively vacationed in Colorado in the summers. While most of my friends were headed to the beach or camp, we headed north for some crisp (DRY!) mountain air. If we’re honest, the Houston humidity in the summer can get suffocating, and there is no better place for relief than the Rocky Mountains. If you know my dad well, you know how much he LOVES Colorado. We visited places all over the state and had only a few repeats at our favorite places.
One of those repeat places was and is Breckenridge. We’ve visited now in both the Winter and Summer months and you couldn’t find a more quaint and charming mountain town. The memories go far beyond the towns, though. As my sister reflected we agreed that in a sense, we were raised there. Vacations in the mountains happened every year, regardless of what was going on in the world around us. It was special time as a family, and I have no doubt that those trips shaped us into the adults we are today. We learned how to vacation as a group and survive in a multi-day car ride with your siblings (when really your my biggest concern was not peeing in my pants from laughing too hard). There were other lessons learned, too. BB and Dad were the vacation planners; Mom white-knuckled it through many mountain passes that were probably too narrow to be safely driven (on MOST of our trips, she infamously said, “Mike, YOU look at where you’re driving, I’ll look at the scenery); Dan usually finished multiple books on the road trips there and back and “survived” the cold Colorado hikes. As the youngest, I was exposed to all elements of the trip – hike up Pikes Peak with salami and cheese lunch (I thought that was SO COOL at the time), fishing trips with Dad, BB and Dan, learning what a hiker’s breakfast is and playing with the humming birds at Mt. Elbert Lodge, making a scary drive on Cinnamon Pass, touching the snow at the peak of the mountain in the middle of summer, and touching the Four Corners – Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah on the way home. My memories are countless and they’re flooding back as I delve into those depths of my mind.
What my mom and dad maybe never realized [but then maybe they did and that was part of their plan on along] was that the memories are rarely the big and the grand. They’re the laughing fits because mom unintentionally made me buy a tracksuit (hello 90s) at Target for vacation that was from the MATERNITY section. They’re the flashbacks to train rides where mom gave us each a disposal camera and every.single.picture I took was of the river. Trust me when I say all river rapids look the same. I have 36 pictures to prove it. They’re the putting pennies on the train tracks and waiting for the train to come and flatten them. They’re ice skating on a natural pond, not realizing there’s no Zamboni in this kind of ice skating. They’re the 24-hour road trip home with your sister and Gema and Pawpaw full of memories you’ll never replace.
I hope Mitch and I can instill the same warm feelings in our kids about family vacations. We continued that tradition a couple weeks ago with Regan. She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s already crossed a lot off her bucket list. She hiked like a champ, carried Daddy’s fly fishing rod for him for one of those hikes, rode a gondola style ski lift to one of the peaks at Breckenridge. She’s been on four flights, one of which was delayed six hours; you’d never have known by looking at her at 11PM stuck on the tarmac at the Philly airport. Soon enough she’ll be creating memories of her own that will hopefully last her a lifetime. Something about those mountains reminds of our proximity to God’s glory, and somehow I think Regan has a special privilege in that glory that I may never fully understand myself.
We also took some new family portraits! We didn’t have a chance to take newborn pictures when Regan was born (for obvious reasons…things were a little hectic). I finally got around to scheduling some pictures of our little family – enjoy!