finding your roots sometimes means you drive for a few hours to show your kids the exact place you grew up. even if that means a whole county. or a different state. or just really, really great chocolate.
big d had to work today. and in working, i mean, he was gone. is gone. all day. tomorrow too. so instead of sulking away the day, wishing for a more productive saturday (morning run? ha!) we went on an adventure. my 3 sons and i.
maybe it's because i didn't want to stay home and clean up for the 40th million time this week. or finish the laundry that i started wednesday. maybe it's because i just didn't want to be jealous of big d who was out of town, doing cool stuff.
so i strapped them in, and we left. and we drove. and drove.
we stopped at the chocolate factory. the place i remember so vividly. the smells of chocolate and popcorn, the feel of the cold ice cream cooler in the parlor. the ancient look of the place. after buying the kids enough chocolate to make them sick, we left. they loved it. they asked all sorts of questions, and i wished we could have taken a tour of the place.
we drove on.
and we came to the lake that i remembered for it's itty bitty shells that litter the place. the feel of the dark gritty sand and the cold water. the breathtaking view of the vibrant water. i sat back and watched the boys play in the freezing water, and giggled while they secretly loaded their pockets with little shells. i sat content on the sand and day dreamed about being there as a kid, chasing gulls myself, just as the two year old was doing.
after an hour of getting wet and getting very cold, we loaded up again. and drove.
fussy fell asleep. we wandered. we drove to the middle of nowhere and turned back toward home. and kept going. through forest trails and foggy clouds. we watched the trees get taller and then get shorter. we watched farms fade to forest and then back again. and a solitary horse standing at the base of a hill. we saw skunks crossing the road.
we drove on. i pointed out the house that my grandpa lived in. it's changed, mostly because i haven't seen it for real for a long time. then we stopped at the cemetery.
my kids are fascinated by the cemetery. any cemetery. but this one, they were holding their breath as i told them who the people were. from my grandparents to my great grandparents, the the greats that crossed the ocean to live in zion. we cleaned off the tombstones and while the boys were running around looking, i had a heart to heart with my grandpa. i told him all about his namesake. i told him how much i missed him, and how sorry i was that i hadn't been there in a very long time. we piled back into our van and they listened to more stories about me, being a kid, just like they are now.
we then started the journey home. and i felt good. like maybe i taught my kids something about me. like maybe they might someday remember that day trip we once took. and i hope it wasn't just about the chocolate that almost made them sick.
maybe it's not always about going away to some fun filled place with rides or shows or cousins or something cool to do. it could just be that spending time, finding out where you come from might actually be important. but the chocolate doesn't hurt.