A couple of weeks ago my hubby and I took two of our daughters to the Colorado River. We went as a group with my Uncle Paul, his wife Sue, their son, Matt and his wife Mallory, and Paul and Sue's daughter Sara. We met my other uncle Leo, his son Ryan and their friends, Cheryl, Lana, and Kathy. We also had, Paul and Sue's furry dog children, Kramer and Sushi.
I learned that a large group of people can go on a river boat trip, have a boat break down, get in trouble with the coppers, forget an ice chest full of beer, forget to BBQ, drag an outboard on the ground, and find themselves in the middle of shallow waters. We can Loose a pair of really cool Oakley sunglasses and a favorite hat and still not one person was in a bad mood. No one fought and no one yelled at anyone else! It was an amazing time.
My uncles Leo and Paul have been my friends since I was born. My mom was older when they were born so we were all like cousins rather than uncles and nieces. My sister and I couldn't wait to get to my Grandma's house when we were kids because we always had them to play with and get in trouble together. We were all teenagers together and have stayed close over the years. Both of them married young and had children. So that means my cousins are like my niece and nephews but they aren't...
Here is a pretty cool pic of us from the seventies.
It seemed like we all had a lot more hair
and none of it was gray!
Anyway, we've stayed close but it's really been about seeing each other at Christmas, weddings/showers and funerals. I get to see my cousins, Sara and Mallory more because we all like the photo shoots but beyond that we all haven't spent any quality time together. After this weekend I learned it is possible to fall in love with your family after some thirty years. Of course we loved each other but I was able to see them all on a deeper level and they are so loving and supportive I couldn't help but fall in love.
During the trip I had little conversations with several members of my family. I had this little moment with my cousin Sara that was amazing. She shared her heart with me about what kind of mother I am and how I've raised my daughters. She gave specific examples and was so terribly encouraging it brought tears to my eyes. It was really special to see that she has been watching me, and my daughters grow, as a young woman herself that meant more than I can say. I don't even need to tell you what she said, but it was kind, fair, and non judging. Everyone needs that kind of feedback in life. Thank you Sara.
I spoke with Paul about family and how we need to slow down and live in the moment and share love between each other more. Then, later as the sun was setting down we stopped the boat and dangled from the back of it. Paul, Sue, Steve and I just talked about raising our kids, who they would be, who they were and all of our dreams. It was just such a wonderful moment for me I can't explain it. It was quiet, peaceful and I felt so happy to be at that place at that moment. When I think back on the weekend, that's the moment I keep going back to.
Without further blabbing, here are the pictures of our trip! Enjoy!
Sitting in the boat ready to take off for the day!
On the water...
First thing on the books, tubbing... This is Steve!
Matt and Mallory did the pulling.
Boat full of happy people
And Amanda's turn...
Horseshoes with Ryan and Paul
Some floating was in order
We did a lot of hanging around and talking and eating snacks.
Right about now, the pOleees showed up to tell us we were parked on a private beach and that we needed to pay for a permit or skiddadle. So... We split.
Kramer was the point man
Emma was the dog whisperer, as usual.
Next stop, Pirates Cove. It's the kind of place you imagine when you think of "The River". Lots of people watching, bare bottoms and tools. What? It's true, I'm just telling the truth...
On the way, I lost my hat which was retrieved by Lana, thank you! And my new blue Oakley sunglasses. I'm clearly a river noob or just really accident prone.
During the ride over which was long and fast and fabulous, My uncle Paul convinced Emma to drive the boat. While she was driving I was a nervous wreck. I worried how she would beat herself up if she did something wrong. I thought we might all die. Maybe I was on edge from teaching my 16 year old to drive over the last few months. Whatever it was I was stressed.
As I watched her drive the boat she began to grow up... Of course not really but she sat up straight. Her hands on the wheel were sure and strong, she looked to the right and the left, planning and reacting to the waves and other boats. Was it perfect, no, but she was. She was sure and strong and I got to see a glimpse of who she may become. She'll always remember when her great uncle let her drive his boat and she did a great job. My children need to feel this more often.
After we watched Sara fly from a giant swing we all thought it would be fun to water taxi over to the other side of the river and check out the Naked Pirate Bar. This was a blast, mostly just the company, but let me tell you there were even more people watching opportunities over there.
Good drinks, yummy calamari!
Ryan was very happy with all
the straws. "A sunny drink
for a sunny guy."
I just think this picture is hilarious!
The day ended with everybody happy and laughing and relaxed. It was hard to head back. The best thing was the way the light changed and started softening down with the mood of the day.
My Fabulous Aunt Sue
Heading home with Sue behind the wheel.
Why would you ever want to be anywhere else?
It was a long ride back and we had music playing. I watched Emma move to the front of the boat to be closer to her cousin. The dogs started falling asleep and I just sat back and watched my family. It could not have been more serene. Steve and I had talked about how much this trip magnified the fact that all we've done is worked. We've missed out on so much time with the people we love. We've missed out on all the little life lessons our children could have been learning, like trusting themselves to drive a boat or to hop into a river tube. I felt regret, but was thankful to still have today and tomorrow to make changes.
Have a fantastic summer, don't waste it away working!