Well, the Sullivan crew is off on another family vacation. We decided we wanted to do a nice trip together as a family before Bethany leaves for college. Since she'll be working this summer, spring break seemed like the perfect time.
When we first started discussing ideas for her "senior trip", several were put forth. A trip to a tropical destination, or to the big cities of the northeast, or maybe back to Yellowstone, where we had our best family vacation ever while Hannah was still with us? Well, as it turns out, none of the above were chosen ... instead, we are currently in Crested Butte, Colorado, where we are enjoying beautiful snowfalls and snow-covered mountain vistas.
Some of us ... that would be Brad (my husband), Bethany (my daughter), and "Other Brad" (my daughter's boyfriend) ... love to snow ski, and that's how they've been spending their day today. And then there are some of us ... that would be me ... who are quite happy to spend the day in solitude with a good book, enjoying said snow-covered mountain vistas through a picture window before a crackling fire.
Getting here was a bit of an adventure. Remember how just about two weeks ago Bethany was playing basketball in the state tournament? Well, three days later, softball season started.
No, she's never played fast-pitch softball before. Sure, she played some softball up through the sixth grade, but after Hannah got sick, softball just kind of went by the wayside. So, now in her senior year of high school, she has decided to play again. And she got off to a good start ... hitting a stand-up triple in her very first at bat! Things have slowed down a little bit at the plate after that auspicious beginning, but it was a fun way to start the season.
Anyway, back to getting here. We knew when we scheduled this trip that Bethany had some kind of softball thing on Saturday, but we confidently made our condo reservations for Sunday and bought lift tickets for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We planned to leave after her game on Saturday and spread the trip out over two days, driving until we got tired, staying in a hotel, and finishing the trip the next day.
Well, her "softball thing" turned out to be an all-day tournament. And wouldn't ya know it, they kept winning games and ended up qualifying for the championship game ... which was scheduled for 8:00 p.m. And, as generally happens in tournaments, they were running behind, and it didn't start until nearly 9:00. Of course, after seven innings of play, the score was tied. When the game finally ended with a loss for the Lady Panthers, it was 11:15! And we had a sixteen hour drive ahead of us!
Gone were our plans for a leisurely drive with a nice hotel stay to break up the trip. We were now on a mission just to get there in time to check in on Sunday. Brad took the first shift, driving until 3:00 a.m., and then I took over, driving from 3:00 'til 5:00 a.m. Then it was Other Brad's turn to drive, and he was a trooper, driving for several hours while Brad and I tried to get some sleep ... a futile effort on my part, since I have never been able to sleep in the car. Finally, we were within about ninety minutes of our destination. The end was in sight ... We were all awake now and getting excited as we started climbing in elevation. Snow started to fall, beautiful big flakes, adding to the snow we were beginning to see around us. And it continued to fall, and continued to fall, until the road was completely covered and these Arkansas folks began to get nervous. So did the driver of the 18-wheeler in front of us, apparently, as he slowed to less than a crawl, and we did too. We went on that way for several miles, bemoaning the fact that our arrival at the condo was being further delayed, but taking advantage of enjoying the beauty around us. I snapped this picture out the window just to show how deep the snow was at the roadside.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at Crested Butte and checked into our condo. We were all still wearing the same clothes we'd put on the day before ... Bethany still in her softball uniform ... and were desperate for a shower and a toothbrush. Bedtime came early last night, and we are all feeling much better today.
And here's the view from the condo. That's the mountain where they're doing their thing while I'm doing mine.
It was a long drive ... but we had a lot of time to talk and reminisce. Every family vacation brings back memories of past vacations, and we had plenty of laughs over some special times from the past. It still seems very strange to have Bethany and her boyfriend in the back seat (or the front seat) instead of Bethany and Hannah, like it was for so many years. In fact, Brad was calling to the two of them as we were leaving a restaurant during a break in the softball tournament and said, "C'mon, girls!" I'm not sure if he even noticed what he said.
As with any family event since Hannah left for Heaven, her absence is glaring. It helps that Bethany's boyfriend knew her and can comfortably participate in our conversations about her. But, oh, do we miss her. She would probably have been hanging around the condo with me all day ... I really can't picture her skiing ... and I sure would have enjoyed spending the time with her. Instead I've spent the time thinking about her and wishing she was here.
But it's a nice thought to know that the place she's in is far more amazing than this one. Just imagine ... snowfall without bitter cold, swishing through mountains without needing skis or poles, never having to worry about falling, and no sore muscles! Is that what Heaven is like? I really don't know. I do know that Randy Alcorn describes the new Heaven and the new Earth that way, and he believes we'll be doing things like that there. And right now, that sounds really good to me.