Our family started a new tradition four years ago, an annual ski vacation. We selected Steamboat Springs, Colorado for our ski trip, and although we have considered other locations, all choose to return to Steamboat. Although we traveled to Steamboat for Spring Break the first year, we weren’t pleased with the lack of snow in March, so since then, we have selected January for the trip.
The stimulus for this vacation is our son-in-law Stephen, who loves to ski. Our daughter, Tara, skis each year, as do our granddaughters, soon to be thirteen-year-old Mary Grace, soon to be eleven-year-old Elsie, and five-year-old Virginia. Our other daughter, Chatham, usually comes on this trip, but this year she stayed home to prepare for the birth of her first child (and our first grandson,) Drew, scheduled to arrive in late February. Her husband, Johnathan, came on the ski trip last year, and Uncle Barry a couple of years ago. Our close family friend, Maureen (MoMo,) came with us this year, which was her second time for the trip.
Although Mike and I have skied many years ago, we have chosen to use this trip to just relax. We are fine watching our children, grandchildren, and friends ski, and protecting our older hips!
This week of skiing and relaxing provides us a total change of pace from our responsibilities. While Mike and I usually are working as well as relaxing, the ability to look out at the snow-covered mountains while we work on our computers makes it seem less like work. This year did involve more work for Mike during this trip since he had to leave Steamboat a few days early to travel to India to speak.
Being able to watch the grandchildren ski and seeing how much they have developed in their skills, provides a special kind of joy. Virginia has taken skiing lessons since she was three and she has no fear! Mary Grace, Elsie, and their parents also take lessons each year.
Our family makes vacations a priority throughout the year, although most of the trips are at the beach or theme parks. While they are all fun, none are as relaxing as the ski trip. Our Colorado trip is a total change of pace and scenery. It is also the only trip that most of the family tries to take together, although work obligations have precluded some from being able to go every year.
You have heard it said that when we are gone all that will remain are our memories and our photos. I fear that most of what will remain are our memories, not even our photos since many of our photos are left on our phones!
As I think about time, I am reminded that we are blessed to be able to be together, and I am grateful that we are healthy enough to travel. We never know when that will change. I am also grateful that we have the financial resources to be able to take these trips together. While we are making a commitment of time and money to do so, we have the ability to and many cannot. And as meaningful and fun as these trips are, we can certainly make memories without traveling to Colorado for a ski vacation or to Disney or the beach.
Making memories is more about being together and making that a priority, more than being in any specific location.
However you do it, and wherever you do it, make spending time as a family a priority. When we grandparents and parents are gone, the memories of our times together will be a comfort to those left behind.