Without fail, Daniel and I made at least a yearly foray back to his hometown of Franktown, Colorado. We went for a few birthdays and most Christmases. I wish – oh, how I wish – that I could conjure up happy memories of those trips. Why is it the bad always stays with us more clearly than the good?
Another time, when the kids were still fairly little, we went for a ride up in the mountains. Nick and Val, sitting in the back seat of Grandma’s truck, did not fare so well. First one child threw up all over the back seat, and just as we had stopped to clean it up, the other child threw up also.
Coming home from Colorado one January, we ran into an ice storm on the interstate. It was dark and all the other motorists were pulled over on the shoulder, resigned to wait it out. Well, not my husband. We just kept inching along, sliding off the road once. I have no idea how we were able, in the glare ice under our feet, to get the car moving again.
Back in Wisconsin, Nick and Val had no first cousins their own age, so I wanted them to be able to just play with Daniel’s niece and nephew. I guess they had fun times together, I hope they did anyway. Their grandpa Loehmer, my dad, had to seem ancient to them and was getting more and more forgetful. Their grandparents in Colorado were young by comparison and I wanted my kids to know them while they could. I hope it was all worth it.
My childhood just seemed so idyllic compared to theirs. It’s a mother’s daily stress. “How can I give my kids a better childhood than I had?” I don’t really know if the trips back to Colorado had any positive effect. And I suspect that if I asked them, they would say, “what trips to Colorado?”
Nick with his cousins, Jeremy and Christina, at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.