04 August 2016

Jailhouse Traditions

Walking away from a place you've lived your whole parenting existence, which for me is now fifteen and a half years, offers opportunities for new adventures.

That's what people kept telling me.  I now understand that "adventure" in our culture is acode word for pain, heartache, and opportunity for growth.  It could also be a really awesome time. Then again, it might turn out really, really bad.

One thing I hadn't entirely anticipated regarding our move was a loss of family traditions.  Certainly games, reading, dinner time, and bedtime routines were still intact.

In many areas, though, there was nothing to reach for. It would be summer and I would think, "let's go berry picking," a favorite family pastime.  Or head to Daybreak park and ford the river for someplace to cool off.  But they were not there.

So many memories that could not now be.
Brian would bring me dahlias from the UPick dahlia farm after work.  We would marvel at their variety.

Maybe we'd stop by our friends' place to put a new frog in their fountain or visit the fish hatchery and climb the hill we named "chirping hill" for the birds and the bird woman who kept many feeders going.

Fall called to us with multitudinous harvests and canning, applesauce making, cider pressing, and the picturesque Pomeroy Farm pumpkin patch.

In winter, it was the Thornton's tree farm, stomping in puddles, and cozy fireside reading.

So the seasons went, until our parenting and family identity were wrapped up in many traditions to anticipate and to recollect.

With the move to North Dakota, I felt like everything was erased.  It was not erased with a soft, clean white board eraser, but with a piece of black chalk, rubbing angrily across a lovingly decorated board, screeching and causing my soul to shudder.  What now?  What could possibly replace all the beauty we'd enjoyed for so many years?

Imagine my delight, when, this summer as we took off on our family's vacation, a few of the kids started talking about where we needed to stop.

The shout was Miles City!  "We want to stop at the park between the kid jail and Wendy's."  I was bewildered at the draw.  Did you know when you jump off the high swings at that park, the landing is soft?  No more jarring your body when your feet hit; it has foam bark.

Traditions indeed.  They do come.  They need not be ravishing or extravagant.

 Just something to anticipate and to recollect.

A few photos from our recent family trip to Yellowstone and the Beartooth Mountains.  We even got to connect with my college friend Ava and her family from Texas.  God continues to bless us beyond anything we deserve.