Saturday, June 7, 2014
The Other Parts of our Trip
Adam and I are officially "back together." I need to write a post about that. It happened unexpectedly and only very recently, though even before that time I had invited him to come with us up to Arizona for Dylan's graduation. Aiden was not able to come because just days before we were leaving, our beloved kitty, Maestro got very, very sick. We took him to the doctor, but he needed care at home, so Aiden volunteered to stay and tend to him. We were sad Aiden couldn't be with us, but so relieved that the kitty was in good hands.
I really wanted this to be a good experience for Adam and me. It's hard for him, and vulnerable for me, because Arizona was a part of my life that happened before he did. I was married to another man, I was building a first family, I was mourning the loss of a different marriage. These are sensitive subjects for him, so I felt cautious in what I reminisced about aloud, but I also really wanted him to open up to all of the parts of my life, as my past brought me to him. It was a bit of a dance, but I was grateful that he came along.
The long stretch of highway between California and Arizona is well known to me. For many years, I drove five hours to the halfway point, at this Exit 69 on I-10 where I would meet my ex-husband and "make the exchange," either dropping off or picking up our three big kids, and then turn around and drive the five hours back home. I did it alone, I did it pregnant, I did it with an infant, then a baby, then a toddler, then a little kid Conor. Many, many times. And then we started to put them on airplanes and have them fly. (That's been so much easier!)
Seeing the exit brought back so many memories. I used to get this huge knot in my stomach and then fight to hold back tears as we approached, only to let them free once I was driving in the opposite direction. Those were hard times.
On our way through the Phoenix valley, we had an impromptu visit with my sister Amanda and her family, to say goodbye before they move back to New Jersey. It was so good to see her and get to hug her.
Then we headed over to the Gilbert Temple. Adam has the picture, but when we were walking around, we ran into an old friend of mine from years and years ago when I lived in Show Low. It was so random that her family was the only other family there, and they had just come out of the temple with her son who had received his endowments preparatory to leaving on his mission. It must have been twelve years since I'd last seen her. What a cool reunion!
Then we made a quick dash over to my brother Josiah's house so I could squish my newest niece, Everleigh. She is just the cutest thing! Oh, my goodness, it made me want a baby so badly!
(Conor would love that. He wants a baby too, but I'm afraid that's not to be.)
My handsome brother.
And his darling wife. I love her and wish we lived closer.
Finally, late that night we ended up in Show Low, driving through the canyon and the forests in the dark. Oh, the memories! I have driven those roads countless times, and there was such an interesting feeling as we approached town. Those mountains hold so much for me. My life unraveled there, and I came to know the Savior in the most personal way there as a result.
We stayed with my dad and Raelene, and they treated us to a huge breakfast our first morning.
Conor was thrilled for some chicken action. Grandpa and Grandma have lots of chickens! Conor learned to feed worms to the chickens and we checked on the eggs that their hen, Chik Patty was setting on.
He played some chess with Grandpa.
And some Pick-Up-Sticks.
Then we headed over to the Staley house for a pre-graduation party. I was so happy to see my boy! I hadn't seen him since his visit at Christmas.
The next morning we headed to the Snowflake Temple, another hallowed spot for me.
And then we went back up to Pinetop to the Ace Hardware where Dylan has worked for the last eighteen months. It was fun to see him in action. Here he is cutting rebar.
He was so great as he helped customers, and he showed us the aisles of the store that are his sole responsibility. He's doing a great job there!
I also loved that he took me around and introduced me to his friends and co-workers. I love hearing my kids say, "This is my mom." It's my favorite title in the world.
Conor played at the Staley house for a while for their youngest boy's birthday, and then we made a quick trip over to the Family Fun Park while we waited for Dylan to get off work.
Dylan got to choose wherever he wanted to go for dinner and he chose Aliberto's, a kind of fresh fast-food Mexican joint, that I have to say was pretty delicious.
Then we enjoyed our last night with Grandpa, who showed Conor his cool fossil collection, as he has all the other grandchildren before him. My children love their Grandpa. He is so gentle and kind to them and shows such a loving, personal interest in them.
And then, early Sunday morning, Grandma took Conor out to the Chicken Cacciatorium, and lo, and behold. . .
There was a fresh hatchling! What a sweet privilege for little Conor!
Then it was back on the road. We stopped at the bottom of the Salt River Canyon, but the sun was pretty bright!
And it was hot!
And after our stop at the Mesa Temple, we settled in for the long stretch home.
It was a good trip in some very important ways.