We hit the road last week to go on another road trip. This time we upped our game, we brought along Tim and the dog, the whole family. All seven of us hopped in the minivan after Peyton's baseball game on Thursday and left town.
We left town to reconnect. We left town to make memories.
This trip marked the very first time in the history of our family that we have been on a vacation that didn't involve visiting other family or going on trips with other family members or traveling to a baseball tournament. This trip was something I've wanted to do for years--just us.
Up North was our destination, actually Big Lake in Gaylord, Michigan. If you live in Michigan you understand that going "up north" means going anywhere north of where you live and it involves a lake. In the land of great lakes, that phrase covers a lot of ground. But it really could have been "out west" "down south" "across the river"...I only cared that we were going to be together for a few days. Together to make memories that we would talk about forever.
I tried to keep expectations low, but we were all really excited about this trip. Especially Tim and me. Even though the pressure was on, the trip worked out, it actually exceeded our lofty expectations.
It was the kind of trip that reminds you about all the good there is in growing up and summertime and family and S'mores and simple pleasures and being together and laughing from your gut and soaking up sunsets.
We jumped off the dock, skipped rocks, caught fish, kayaked, went on boat rides, sat by the fire, roasted marshmallows, played cards, told stories and more. It was like summer camp. It was buggy and un-fancy and familiar and comforting and relaxed and happy.
We left the cabin to do a few tourist-y things. We found a festival in town. There were rides and caricature artists and flower crowns.
|Tim was terrified of the Ferris Wheel.|
We took a ferry to Mackinac Island. The island is car-less, everyone rides bikes and horses. And everyone eats fudge, the island is famous for making delicious fudge.
The whole island was picturesque and sort of perfect. Well, until we showed up.
We brought a gluten-free picnic lunch and ate it on the lawn of Fort Mackinac overlooking the boats and the town. It was perfect until JT threw a potato chip to a seagull. Yup, then a million seagulls surrounded us and we grabbed our food and took cover.
After our hilarious picnic fail, we did a little sight-seeing. The island is also famous for a hotel, the Grand Hotel.
So, I thought we should go take a look at it. We marched our way across the island laughing and bickering and people watching. We were stopped right before we got to the hotel. "Excuse me, are you guests of the hotel," the woman asked looking my motley crew up and down already knowing our answer.
Maybe it was the holes in Tim's shirt, the bird poop on Peyton's neck or Wade and JT wrestling on the sidewalk, I'm not sure what exactly gave away the fact that we were way too un-fancy to be guests of her hotel.
"Well, just to let you know there is a charge for non guests going any further," she smiled.
I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman except I'm not a hooker and I have a gaggle of children always following me--remember the scene in the clothing store. Ahhhhhh! "Come on guys, let's get out of here," I informed my family who looked confused. As we walked back to wear the common folk gathered, I might have muttered "who needs your dumb fancy hotel anyway, even if I had extra money I wouldn't pay you to stand on the porch."
Down by the ferry dock, we found an outdoor, free graffiti art board. Creative self-expression, color, messy, un-fancy...right up our alley.
This trip reinforced who we are as a family. That wasn't my plan, it just kind of happened. When one of us tried kayaking for the first time, we cheered each other on and when we got the hang of it we raced each other because that's what some of us do. When one of us only wanted to fish the entire time and didn't particularly enjoy scary ghost stories at the bon fire we said "that's cool" because that's what we do. When birds pooped on our picnic, we ran and squealed and laughed our heads off because that's what we do. When we couldn't afford a million souvenirs or walking around the fancy hotel porch some of us got dissapointed but we got over it because that's what we do. When all of us were sitting on the boat together not racing to a practice or a game or work or a friend's house, we had fun because that's what we do.
I don't think the children understood how precious this whole weekend away was the way Tim and I understood it. I doubt they were looking at each other and wanting to hold onto the moment forever like I was. But maybe they will remember it, maybe they will be stronger for it and know that we are an un-fancy family that loves big, accepts, supports and encourages each other, gets on each other's nerves like all families but gets over it quickly and that we love a sunsets and road trips.