At this moment I’m sitting on a queen size bed in a Holiday Inn Express Hotel room in Salina, Kansas, drinking merlot out of a plastic cup with my old man. Today is Father’s Day as you all know, so I won’t go on and on about how awesome my dad is (even though he fucking rules). Two weeks ago today, I packed up my essentials in my bottomless, go-to duffel bag, and left Carbondale, Illinois to travel over 2,000 miles across the country with my mom and dad to Lake Tahoe, California. Now, being a recently-turned 21-year-old female, one would think this cross-country journey would consist of me sitting in the back seat, headphones plugged in, shades down, nose buried in a book or electronic device, anxiously awaiting the moment that I could stretch my newly legal legs in a casino or bar.
However, this was hardly the scenario, although I did lose my casino-virginity and drank a fair amount of merlot (thanks, dad!). I PLANNED on getting a good amount of reading done and PLANNED on listening to some good albums and tons of podcasts, but those forms of entertainment had absolutely nothing, NOTHING, on the breathtaking scenery I got to see as we made our way through the wind turbines and rolling hills of Kansas (it really isn’t flat!), the indescribable Rockies of Colorado, Utah’s Salt Flats, Nevada’s flashy lights and barren canyons, and last-but-not-least, the heart-breaking blue of Lake Tahoe, California.
Not only did the landscape of America leave electronic entertainment in the dust, but so did my parents’ company. I know that being in your 20’s and considering your parents more fun to hang out with than people your own age may sound lame or childish and make me sound like a bit of a baby, but I could care less. I feel so deeply fortunate to have the relationship that I do with my parents. They have given me everything and then some and I am so happy I chose to take the long drive with them instead of flying (which they were more than willing to pay for).
My mother, father, brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece spent a few days in a condo in Lake Tahoe, California, a little family reunion! I realize how precious those few days were. My father and sister are both very talented photographers and did a fantastic job of capturing some of our best moments on camera. A picture may say a thousand words, and with the amount of pictures taken on this vacation, I think we may have written a Tolkien-lenght novel, but those thousands of words will never be able to explain the aching in my chest I get when I look back at these pictures. It is not a painful ache, but more of a heavy-tender aching that comes from loving someone so much it hurts…but in a great way.
I could keep typing for hours, but my folks and I have to be up early to finish the last six hours of our trek home. I love my family. That is all (and all that matters, really.)