Some of the fondest memories of my childhood are when we piled all eight kids and the dog into the station wagon and headed into the mountains for an afternoon picnic. The dog would be drooling those long strings of drool that hang off the sides of a dog's face, and one or more of us would be getting carsick. We'd pull up to a little clearing and we'd all spill out to spend the day in the fresh air and bright sunlight. We'd eat Spam sandwiches and drink Shasta pop. And then my dad would nap on the blanket while the rest of us scattered to the wind.
My mom was always the driving forces of these little excursions. When our meal was done, she'd be the first up the mountain. We were a veritable Von Trap family, climbing over rocks and laughing our heads off at...well...each other. Yes, I did manage several renditions of "The Sound of Music" while attempting to run down a hillside with my arms outstretched as if to embrace the entire world (in case you were wondering).
It's the little things. I close my eyes and relive an entire afternoon with my parents and siblings in a matter of moments; the wild flowers bending in the breeze and the solemn, sacred silence deep in the pines.
I guess I'm not sure why I'm recounting all of this. Maybe because the sun is shining today and I'm starting to believe that maybe summer really will come one of these days...maybe because I miss my mom and her endless energy. There are moments that I try to recreate for my children, though. We pile them and the dogs in the car and wander the countryside. Or we'll pack a lunch and stop somewhere along the way. It's one of those little family traditions, I guess...the kind that you just do for so long, your start to forget where it came from. Nate and Lizzie don't know I love those drives because they remind me of my mom and her "let's DO this!" attitude, and my dad's quiet joy at watching us run around the mountains like hooligans. They just know I make them do it.
So, here's to the little things that keep us going! The little things that remind us of home. The little things that turn out to be big things, in the long run.