The general consensus was that cold cereal would suffice for breakfast that morning, as getting six people out the door by 6:00 is so much easier when there are no eggs to fry. We made it two hours down the road before we had to stop for egg sandwiches. That is the story of the Miller Family and Breakfast.
Erica did a lot of moaning and clutching her throat and making dark references to throwing up that morning. My own stomach felt a little funny.
The skies were overcast and gray and spritzing now and then.
We were on our way to the West Coast, making a quick little two-day trip out of it. We took Highway 20 from Newport to Anacortes, WA. There are plenty of rave reviews about Hwy 20, and they are not an exaggeration. It was so lovely that no matter which window of the van I plastered my nose to, I felt like I was missing something on the other side.
We stopped by several waterfalls and hiked a little way up one trail to take a break from driving.
I could have spent days looking at the big orchards of the Okanogan. There were cherries and peaches and grapes, and I don’t know what all growing there.
Washington State Park had the perfect place for us to drive up close to the Pacific Ocean. The shimmering blues of the water and sky were mesmerizing, the weather warm and perfect.
We climbed around on the rocks by the water and watched the boats coming and going for awhile before supper, then took pizza to a park to eat.
The ocean was even more lovely the next morning. Birds were wheeling and dipping, diving into the water for their breakfast, and screeching at each other. Fish were jumping out of the water. We saw a big…something…way out in the water rolling and playing. We hoped it was dolphins.
It was delicious and luxurious, sitting there in the sun drinking our Starbucks coffee.
The woods right up by the water was a dark, thick mass of huge trees. It was an enchanted forest type of experience, walking through it.
But the thing about family vacations (at least for us) is that you’re still the same family on vacation as you are at home. Somehow even trips that are supposed to be fun end up having some not-so-fun moments here and there.
When I look a pictures of other family’s vacations, I see smiling faces and perfection. I don’t see the crushed pretzels on the floor, or the three-year-old threatening to throw up, or the fighting in the middle seat, or the people in the back of the van shouting to the ones in the front that they can’t help sing because they can’t hear from back there, or the selfishness in the Mom who would really like if everyone would just leave her alone for a while so she could look at the cherry orchards and decide if those are peach trees or apple in peace and visit with her guy without everyone trying to figure out what they are saying and if maybe they are talking about them in code.
But you know what’s nice about trips like that?
You look forward to them so much, with your little sparkling image of how it will be, you live through how it actually is, and then suddenly after you’re home, the sparkling image becomes the reality.
You scroll through your pictures and you remember the sweet little people reading The Happy Hollisters in the back seat and the lovely scenery you saw and how fun it was to leave a heap of towels on the motel floor and know that you do not have to wash them.
Some people are good at noticing the good things all the time, on the ordinary, hum-drum days as well as the vacation days. And that’s probably when it counts the most-on the blah, not-so-exciting Monday morning. I have a very long way to go, learning to notice the good. Here are some ordinary things that make me happy:
Also, Erica creeping up the stairs after she’s supposed to be sleeping, to request “juicy water and crispy ice. Please, Mom. Pleeeeease???”
The thing I want to learn to do is to see the beauty while it is happening rather than waiting till it’s over. A summer doesn’t have to be perfect to be a good summer, a family doesn’t have to be a model family to be a nice one, and a van can be a happy place, crushed pretzels, noise, and all. True beauty is not found in perfection, but in a good sprinkling of grace over the rough spots, and a healthy sense of humor to keep things in perspective.
A happy summer to all, with plenty of good things to notice.