Our family just returned from a week’s ski vacation in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The snow was plentiful and beautiful, the accommodations were well appointed and comfortable, and our time together was nourishing and relaxing. Our 2016 Steamboat trip was filled with memories, and a commitment to go back next year. Steamboat is a wonderful ski resort area, and I highly recommend it as a wonderful place to travel with loved ones, whether you ski or not.
Our trip included our daughter Tara and her family; son-in-law Stephen and daughters Mary Grace (soon to be 11,) Elsie (soon to be 9,) and Virginia (3, although she tells anyone who will listen that she is almost 4!) Also present was our daughter Chatham (son-in-law Johnathan could not make the trip this year) and our elder statesman Uncle Barry (who is the youngest 85 -year old you can imagine!) And, Mike and me.
There is no way that I can adequately describe the wonderful time that we had. Our daughters and granddaughters and son-in-law skied and/or participated in other snow activities most every day, with the girls taking lessons, and developing skills in traversing the mountain that amazed all of us. Mike and I did not ski, opting instead to relax and spend time with our oldest and youngest, Uncle Barry and Virginia (when she wasn’t skiing!) There were afternoon trips to the local eateries, and trips to the grocery store for Uncle Barry’s ingredients for his beef stew and chili (which we devoured for 4 days!) In the evenings we stayed in, enjoyed Uncle Barry’s stew and chili, and played card games. We thoroughly enjoyed being in bed before 10pm each night.
As I think about this most recent trip, I am struck by the circle of life that continues to bind us all together. Mike and I joined our families together almost 32 years ago, when Tara was 8 and Chatham was 6. At that time Uncle Barry’s wife, my aunt Bebo, and his oldest son, Barry Jr., both of whom have since passed away, were still with us. It is now Uncle Barry and his youngest son, Mason. Uncle Barry and Aunt Bebo raised me as their own and only daughter for many years while I was growing up, and had they not been there for me, I do not know what my life would have become. I do not have enough years left to repay that, but I plan to do all that we can to be what Uncle Barry needs in his later years. So, we make sure that we include Uncle Barry in our activities, and so enjoy when he is with us. One of the sweetest things to see is when 3- year old Virginia (soon to be 4!) jumps up in his lap, gives him a great big hug, and says, “Uncle Barry!” The circle of life continues.
Family first. After all, what is more important than family? Nothing. For it is our family that creates us and sustains us, although how that happens differs for many of us. I had a somewhat difficult family life as a child, but that is still my heritage. If I were to try to avoid it or deny it, I would miss some of my greatest life’s lessons. I choose to embrace my family with all of our warts, and take forward the best of my past, into our present and future. To do otherwise would result in missing some of the beauty of what made me who I am, and who I can be.
And as Uncle Barry often says, “Glory!”