4th of July in Montana

"Born on the 4th of July" I think there's a song by that name and why it's playing in my head at this early morning hour is a mystery to me. But then nothing is real clear to me at 4:00 in the morning.

What is it with this 4 a.m. business? I find myself once again putting my mouth in gear and committing to rising at 4a.m. before engaging my brain to really think this thing through. O.K. I think I just want to grumble about it, because if you remember from an earlier blog, I really love rising while the rest of the world is still asleep. I pull on my shorts and tug my tank top down over my head noticing the numbness in my body, as it knows it should still be tucked under the warm comforter sound asleep. I shiver as I make my way down to our over packed car, but I know somewhere out there the sun is going to be shining before this day ends.

We head to Mukilteo to pick up our daughter who immediately curls up in the back seat with her pillow and blanket to finish her night's sleep. Joining my hubby who is already reclined in the passenger seat off in his own la la land somewhere. And I have to remind myself that I did consciously volunteer for the first shift of driving. But that's ok because now I can have the sunrise all to myself. Also delusional thinking as it is pouring down rain outside my car window. We meet the rest of our caravan at the Starbucks in Lynnwood. Eight of us all together in 3 cars. It is easy to spot them in the parking lot because of course we are the only humans that would think of rising at this hour on this cold, rainy morning. We fall in line as we head to the freeway, I turn my heater up full blast, crack open my window to smell the rain and feel a few drops as they wash across my face. For the moment, I think I'm in heaven. . .

As my car makes its way to the top of Snoqualmie pass, I spot it. The sun, waiting there to greet me. I take this personally. I let myself think it rose just for me. I think I must have been a bird in an earlier life because I love the smells and all the elements of nature. Not just to observe them through a window. I need to feel and experience them. As the day progresses bodies find homes in each other's cars and new memories began to form as laughter fills the air. There are ice cream stops along the way, picnicking with lunch at a park on a hillside and then excitement filling the cars as we come closer to our destination, our son’s home in Whitefish, Montana, where we would be spending the next four days.

There are these special pockets of time that only take place when you sleep under the same roof together. And this beautiful bonding begins that could never happen around the dinner table at a family gathering. People rising at different hours, finding each other around the kitchen table sipping early morning coffee, gathering in lawn chairs outside the front door, early morning dog walks around the neighborhood, and sharing crowded bathrooms. Tolerance levels go up and emotions warm. Only a mother's heart can swell in this special way as she watches her family mingle and flow together.

The evening of the fourth we have plans to head down to the lake to take in the fireworks.
As we head across the park it feels like every inch of grass is covered with stretched out blankets and bodies and bodies of people and then by the lake I see an empty spot that I'm sure must have been reserved just for us. We spread out our blankets and quickly take ownership over this special spot right at the waters edge. I let my eyes wander over the surrounding area absorbing the ambiance surrounding me and they land on a sign not more than 15 feet to our left that reads, "hot donuts". Well, I guess you know that got my attention! Before I could get the words out of my mouth the rest of my party had noticed the sign too. We wore a path between our blanket and the counter during the next hour carrying our little treasure bags filled with freshly baked bite sized donuts dressed in powdered sugar. We ate more donuts than I think were legal or at the least "humanly healthy". As the sun set over the lake and fireworks decorated the sky above us I noticed so many legs were intertwined I forgot which ones were mine. Bodies reclined on each other and found familiarity in this family outing as darkness fell around us and sounds of the 4th filled the air.

The week-end filled with go-cart racing, riding water bumper boats, miniature golf, midnight bowling, barbeques, all night game playing, came to a close all too soon. Early Sunday morning, tired, silent bodies crawled into cars ready for a silent, sleep-filled ride home. There was no car hopping this time, fewer stops, and did I mention?, my hubby was now reclined in the back seat nursing a leg that was broken in two places. That's a whole other story and I know there's not room for it on this page. As we backed our cars out of the driveway they were not only bulging with luggage, but with memories that will be with us for a lifetime and renewed connections with each other that would not have happened in any other place.

As I tucked myself into my own bed that night and pulled my warm, cozy comforter up around my neck I went off to sleep with memories dancing in my head and anticipation of our ski trip already planned for January back in Whitefish. Did I mention my hubby broke is leg?? O.K. I think I did. . .

1 comment:

goatgirl said...

What a wonderful memorable trip.....except the part where hubby breaks his leg.