My next few blogs grow out of a 3,670 mile road trip August 18 to 26. The purpose of the trip was simple. Quinten, our youngest, was going to college in Abbotsford, BC. Why not turn this into a family vacation? Kyle, our eldest, and Miguel, our neighbor who is like a son, also agreed to join us. On the morning of August 18th we headed west – 2 cars, 5 drivers, and the wide open road. I am not sure what I was expecting, but this trip stirred up a whole lot of memories, emotions, and reflections. For those of you who have not had to opportunity of driving through states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Wyoming, it is hard to describe how vast the wide open spaces are. We had lots of time to talk, sit in quiet reflection, and wonder about the future.
I will start with the last day of this epic journey. Rita and I pulled into the Flying-J in Cheyenne WY, the final stop before arriving back at home in Denver. It just so happened that this was also our first stop on the way to Abbotsford 8 days earlier. On this last day there was 1 car and 2 people, just Rita and me. Quinten was in school. A few days earlier I had dropped Kyle and Miguel off at SeaTac airport in Seattle. Kyle flew to Stoney Point NY for a week of orientation after which he would be going to Chicago. Miguel flew back to Denver for work.
As we pulled into the Flying-J, all kinds of emotions started welling up. Last year Rita and I experienced a type of empty nest. Both our boys left for a year of service but in my mind they were going to be moving home at the end of their year. As I drove up to the fuel pump it hit me. My boys are growing up, they are going their own way, and they are becoming the adults we always hoped they would become.
So I was happy and I was sad. On the trip from Cheyenne to Denver I found myself driving a bit slower. I wasn’t ready for the empty house we were about to encounter. Last year was a year of preparation, so there is sense in which Rita and I have some experience with an empty house and a quieter life. However, this time it feels permanent. I am confident we will adjust to this new reality. For now I am going to be sad and grateful. Sad because I miss my boys. Grateful because I am happy with how they have turned out.