We had an amazing time in Colorado and were definitely saddened to leave. The weather was great, the sights scenic and the company splendid. Anticipating the long drive back to Oregon, our butt cheeks began screaming in protest before we even sat them down into the car seats. We had decided to wizen up a bit and section off the drive home into two days. That very first leg of the trip took us alittlecloser to crazy than any of us were comfortable with and my nether regions refused to come home without a planned stop in the middle.
Goodbye Firestone, next stop Boise, Idaho.
You know, I love a good vacation. There is something so life-changing about a good, fun-filled vacation. Memories. And laughter. What could be better for the soul than those two things? (And rum. It’s a fine balance, though. Too much of that particular life-changing substance and the “memory” goes right out the door.)
But, as much as I appreciate the merits of a little time away, I covet going home with even more gusto. There is no better feeling than pulling into your driveway knowing that your very own bed is a mere few steps away. (Now, factor a little rum into this reunion and you’ve hit the mother-lode.)
We said a vivacious “Adios” to Colorado and set out for home on Friday, after six days on the road. Knowing we were stopping in Boise certainly made the drive a little easier as the kids were already experiencing physical withdrawals from chlorine and the adults had already began experiencing butt pain. Have you ever heard of muscle memory? My participation in a 2700 mile road trip most definitely proved that theory. My butt muscle remembered being splayed out across a 13 year-old car seat. And didn’t like it.
The drive to Idaho was pretty uneventful. We were, however, lucky enough to see a pretty spectacular lightning display. And I, however, was unlucky enough to be riding shotgun to Mr. Scenic Picture Guy. Which meant our lives would be hanging precariously by the balance while he attempted to get the perfect shot.
Again, not the scenic type, but it was pretty gorgeous.
But, being that I suffer from irrational fears syndrome (self-diagnosed, thank you very much!) I couldn’t help but mentally plan our exit strategy if one of those lightning strikes decided to get a little too close. My plan? Drive like hell in the opposite direction. Good plan.
We made it to the hotel that evening around 9:30 p.m.. Somehow the kids, who normally manage to stretch changing their clothes into a 30-minute affair did a quick-change into swimming suits and were banging on the pool door practically before we finished check-in. Yep. Nothing quite so refreshing as sweating buckets in an indoor heated pool after a 15-hour car ride.
But, nevertheless, a dip in the pool relaxed us all enough to settle deep into our hotel beds and sleep a restful night. Smelling like chlorine.
Adults and children alike woke up the next morning with an eagerness to hit the road. I think the realization that we would be home relatively soon was hitting us all. A quick stop at the gas station for some fuel and a few slurpees, and we were back on the road.
Things were smooth sailing for awhile. Everyone was in anxious moods, the kids were chattering excitedly and Jer was, well, wilting fast. He had driven the entire trip and in an effort to remain all manly-like, refused to admit his exhaustion. So, being the ever-supportive wife that I am, I offered to drive for awhile. On the last leg of the trip. With about 4 hours left until home. I know. I’m a prize.
Approximately 35 seconds after I took over, Jer was snoring contentedly beside me and about five minutes after that I experienced something that could have completely altered my existence.
Now, you surely know by now I am a big fan of “the funny.” But I also recognize that there are times to be serious, so bear with me for a moment.
We were almost victims of a head-on collision involving myself, a semi-truck, a Toyota Corolla and three other cars.
It all happened in what felt like a nano-second. I was heading westbound and began ascending a hill when I looked up and noticed, cresting the hill, a semi-truck approaching me in the left lane. Under normal circumstances, this would have been fine. But these were not normal circumstances because attempting to pass the semi was a Toyota, also heading towards me, in my lane. We were mere feet from each other and I can only attest my ability to react to having God as my co-pilot. My sudden braking woke Jeremy up immediately and I can only imagine his thoughts at seeing the scene unfold before him. I swerved off the road to avoid colliding with the Toyota, and was lucky that there was enough shoulder to accomodate a three-way pass.
I maneuvered the car back onto the road and managed to drive us to the rest area located about a mile up the road. As soon as we pulled into our parking spot I took my seat belt off, exited the car, walked around the corner, and began shaking uncontrollably while tears sprung to my eyes at the sudden assault to the mind of “what could have been.” Any change in that scenario could have meant the end. I looked back at my kids who had weathered that experience with the resilience of an innocent mind. They were already chasing each other around the rest stop and had no idea I was near a mental breakdown.
We came so close. To say that ‘my life flashed before my eyes’ would be a major understatement. It was so very much more than that. I looked at my husband and I looked at my children and I was forcibly reminded how blessed I am.
We made the trip home without further incident but Jer and I came away from this vacation with a new appreciation and a more mature perspective. We faced death and through the grace of God, narrowly avoided it. Life is good.
For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. ~Fr. Alfred D’Souza