Monday, July 11, 2011
A few weeks ago I woke up on a Saturday morning and realized we had nothing planned for the day. There was no reason to rush out of bed. A cool breeze was coming through the window. It felt wonderful to pull the covers up and tuck myself deeper into my bedroom nest. Soon I was joined by my youngest, who still loves to snuggle while we watch TV together. As he easily settled in next to me, and I rested my chin on his tousled hair, all seemed right with the world.
The stress of selling this house, and finding new lodging out in Colorado totally disappeared. Our life no longer revolved around homework and school obligations, it was finally low key summer time. And tucked into that soft cocoon with my boy, watching Spongebob’s antics, I found myself wishing that time would stand still. As I pondered that idea, I realized that snuggling in my fluffy king sized bed is one of my favorite places to be.
You’d probably get a wide variety of answers, if you asked a hundred people on the street, “Where is your favorite place to be?” Some might say a beach on a tropical island. Some might say a dark movie theater, watching a blockbuster movie. Many of my library friends might say being curled up on a couch with a good book is the best place to be.
I enjoy all of those places but if I had to be honest, and name my truly favorite places, they’d almost always involve the people I love. Maybe it’s because we have rarely lived near our extended families, that being in their presence seems so important. The fact that hubby and I both come from large families also means that when we can manage to pull everyone together, it’s a rare day indeed. So here are a few of my favorite places to be. I’ve been lucky enough to experience each of these places in the past few years.
I’d have to start the list with my own children. As crazy as it sounds, some of our best memories have been made when we’re all trapped in the van together. So on the top of my list of favorite places, is the passenger seat of our Caravan. When hubby’s at the wheel, navigating us down new roads, as we find new adventures, and the back seats are filled with all four of my children, life is very, very good. Oh, my kids bicker sometimes. They’re normal siblings with normal frustrations and issues, but many times, when we’ve left the distractions of friends and TV behind, we can get into a really good groove. They let their guards down and start creating inside jokes with each other. They start, just for those frozen moments of time, to act like they’re friends. I could live in that place forever.
Next on my list of favorite places is sitting in a lawn chair around a fire pit. Some of my best life memories have been made in this place. We built the relationship that turned into our best friends in Utah, around the fire pit outside their back door. Just last weekend I sat across from some of my favorite relatives, at a campsite in NH, and we laughed and talked while campfire smoke seeped into our clothes. Once darkness falls, and faces are lit up by the flickering fire light, people open up and become their truest selves. A guitar in the background is just icing on the cake, and I’m never really ready to leave that chair and head back to our tents.
A related location, when it comes to our east coast life, is my mother-in-law’s backyard. Every time I visit her house in New Hampshire, whether I’m sitting at a picnic table or throwing a few hands of horseshoes, I’m in a happy place. The kids run free and mix with cousins who are like best friends. I get to catch up with brothers and sisters in law. We all get pampered by Grammy, who knows every person’s drink of choice. Time does seem to stand still when we enter that grassy field, bordered by shady trees. Kids and grownups alike play endless games of ladder ball and bocce ball, then we all gather together for one big game of wiffle ball.
I’ve only had scattered visits from my family, who are all spread out across the country. Almost two years ago we all gathered in Missouri, for a sibling reunion, and every minute I shared with them in that hotel conference room we used as our gathering spot was treasured time. I got to play cards with nephews and nieces I hadn’t seen in years. I got to laugh with my siblings, as we so easily went back to childhood memories, each of us remembering them a bit differently. I hope to find more times like those once we’re back in that area of the country.
I’m constantly telling my middle son how much he reminds me of my brother and I look forward to the day that he knows what I mean.
So if I ever win the lottery or hit the jackpot on game show, and the prize is a trip to my favorite place on earth, I may shock a few people with my choice. I’d have to pass on the week in Tahiti and the tour of Paris. I’m sure those are lovely places, and I wouldn’t mind seeing them some day. But when it comes to truly priceless places, where I feel the most comfortable, I don’t have to look very far.
Every time I sink into a lawn chair, around a campfire with friends or in a yard full of kids I’m related to, I find myself saying, “Yes….now this is heaven!”