Sunday, March 20, 2016

And we were weary from travel - Spring Break 2016

We spent last week in Branson, Missouri. Here's the house we were in on lake Taneycomo....

Very nice, cozy, but the mice thought so, too.  We had to wash every dish when we got there for fear of mouse disease. (And we stored the utensils in the fridge so we knew for sure we were never eating off of a mouse fork.  But Kid 1 was up in the middle of the night one night making peanut butter sandwiches and thought it a fun idea to press a refrigerated butter knife to Kid 3's face as he slept.  Who knows why.  I guess because we don't keep our knives in the fridge at home so he had a new and novel idea.  No one got hurt in the cold knife incident.  But Kid 1 did get caught by his dad who happened to be sleeping with the kids because he snores).

This is our vacation family picture.

I shared it on Facebook the other day and it got a zillion loves.  It has all the elements of a shareable social media photo... smiles, beautiful background scenery and a nice close group huddle.  I like this one, too.  I didn't even have to fight with the boys to get them to stand still for it. 

But remember, behind every lovely Facebook photo, there's always more to the story.  And those are the things I like to share,... the  interesting details that make the story come alive.  Details that make a story even more true and understandable for those of us that don't take picture perfect vacations.  Or live picture perfect day to days at home.

So here were our vacation highs and lows... the behind the scenes details....

Day 1 vacation....That time we got stuck in the mud.  

That's us and our car stuck in the mud on a dead end road, on a giant mountainous slope, in the dark.  After a long day of travel and one wrong turn later, here we sit waiting for the tow truck to get us to our vacation cabin.  That's Kid 1 in the driver's seat but he didn't get us in this predicament.  Fireman Dave was mad at himself and the sign that told us to turn here... and he was off somewhere being angry while waiting on the tow truck.  

Day 2....  The day I wanted to chop my head off at Silver Dollar City to stop a migraine.  I'm obviously allergic to Missouri. 

So I ended up finding whatever open space I could to lay with a jacket over my face and try to stay with the family as they rode roller coasters and didn't have migraines.

Day 3 - The day I slept off my migraine and spent most of the day in bed while the family watched movies.  Then we went shopping and bought things we normally wouldn't buy at home.

Day 4 - The day we took a day drive to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. 

Kid 1 couldn't sit up straight in the car on the drive, claiming he didn't have the strength nor the energy for such an exhausting hour long drive that took him away from his bed, the TV and whatever else keeps him plugged into the world outside of his boring parents. 

And here we are standing in front of the giant Jesus statue - where I look like I'm wearing an eye patch but I'm really not.  I'm really wearing my incredibly cute prescription aviator shades because of that allergy attack on Day Two that ripped holes in my eyes and left me for half dead with a headache.  So there's that.  No contact lenses for a couple of days. 

But standing in front of giant Jesus, where I stood so many times as a child and posed for these same pictures,.... I dared to speak.  And Kid 1 was perturbed at my invasion of his quiet, and overwhelmed with shame at me being his mom.  Then he declared me to be offensively loud.  And that my volume level may upset Jesus.  I added that part, but he totally might've if he had the energy to think of it.

Then there was that point in the day when again, Kid 1, God love him, ... told me that I don't know how to lock my car door correctly.  Because obviously my higher education was for naught. 

Then after walking the hills of Eureka Springs for a while and getting multiple street levels below where we parked our car, Fireman Dave thought it a grand idea to climb the tallest mountain in the Ozarks to find the car, testing my aerobic capacity and our marriage at the same time.  However, Kid 3 was handy and at the ready offering to give me a push on the behind if I needed help with the climb.  Which is actually very sweet and I may indeed need to cash in on that offer in a matter of years.  But this time I made it just fine all on my own.

I like to call this section.... Things You can Buy in Eureka Springs Arkansas.  Who knew?

1.  The essential for male strippers everywhere.

2.  A private sized man kilt.  Since it is around St. Patricks Day and all. 

I stand firm in these items being a big NO for any man named Walters.  But I couldn't resist sharing them with y'all because they're forever burned into my brain now. 

And yep, this is me and Kid 2.  Waiting for dinner in Branson and shopping for all the things we never knew we needed while we waited.   As long as it's not a man kilt, I'm totally good. 

And that sweet Kid 2 -  pretty much thinks his daddy and I are stuck living back in the days of yore....  and out of touch with the youth of today.  But Mom? Can you buy me these ultra trendy pants anyway? Even if I think you're an embarrassing reflection on my 14 year old awesomeness? That seems to be his mantra these days. 

And Day 5 - our last full day of fun.  

There were go kart races.  I didn't win. 

And a short hike/picnic combo where we took that pretty family picture.

And this....

Oh my goodness.  This is the Showboat Branson Belle... and if you've never had the opportunity to see an all male dance troupe do some hip hop style tap dancing while you float along and eat chicken.... you have to do it at least once.  

The tickets said to report to the boat at 3:15 since lines would be long to board.  So we thought we would get on and sail around a bit then have dinner and a show.  But y'all.  We got to our seats at exactly 3:45 and were practically force fed a roll and salad.  And the next course came and then the next and dinner was done by 4:30 and I had to eat a bowl of cereal that night before bed because I was starving.  I actually think that was the night of Kid 1's middle of the night peanut butter sandwich and cold knife trick.  

I don't think we were the youngest people on the boat, but we were in the top 10%.  But it was really fun in a way that things are fun when you've never eaten chicken on a giant paddle boat while listening to a show tunes medley sort of way.  

But that last night I found myself feeling a little sad for it all to end.  Because I loved having these boys all to myself again for a while.  And I knew when we got home that the sharing would be back.  Sharing them with school and friends and activities and just the fact of them growing up and away.  

And I believe the whole underlying truth to parenting is that we're supposed to love our kids with an eternal perspective.  And if we can't manage that, at least try for a long range plan.  And the biggest part of that is the sharing.  Learning how to be their mom, but share them with the world at the same time.  

So that's the true story behind that good mountain top family picture up there.  Part of me being in the present, and part of me knowing what was coming the next day.  

Y'all.... I heard Fireman Dave considering out loud the great power of the what if.  I know for a fact that he has on more than one occasion considered the What if .... I married someone else who doesn't wake me up a million times a night telling me to stop snoring train of thought. 

But the night we arrived in Branson, he was pondering and wondering..... What if  we had arrived just a little later.... when it was just a little darker.... when we couldn't see that sign that led us down the wrong road.... and got us stuck in the mud in the middle of nowhere without another soul around, in the dark woods of the Ozarks with hungry kids and a restless old dog in the car.  What if....there was no cell phone service out there?  And the What if...we cancelled that AAA membership like we thought about doing and we have to stay out here forever and live off the land and whatever snacks Kristi has hidden in her purse?

Because y'all... it was bad.  And we were weary from travel.  And hungry.  Then add lost and stuck in the mud to all that and I knew this would be another Walters family vacation where something gets run over or explodes or lost or whatever the gods of family vacations think is funny for me to write about on this blog.

And I've done my time pondering the What if's of life.   What if I married that fella back in college?   What if I gave up a long time ago on wanting and wishing for more than I was told I would ever deserve in this life?  What if I didn't get so tired of trying to work it all out myself that I finally let it go and let God lift me from the depression and worry and fear that make up all things Kristi.... and lead me into the adventures of parenting and family life with these people?  These people that became my people?

And I can say this with all certainty... there are no other people in the world that I would rather be stuck in the mud with on a dark Missouri night.  

And if worse came to worst, I am confident that I could've yelled loud enough for someone to eventually find us.  Kid 1 can vouch for that. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Christi Harris-LazaroMarch 21, 2016 at 11:54 AM

    Thanks for sharing. You couldn't have said it any better. I think I love to travel just for those reasons, time together as a family, away from the normal, grabbing every minute I can before they outgrow me. Even with all the mishaps that go on behind the scenes, I wouldn't trade those times for anything and believe me, there's always a lot going on behind the scenes. A family vacation just can't go perfect...ever!

  2. Those mishaps just give us stories to tell for later. And they're usually better than any picture I've taken for memories.


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