With all the stress related to COVID-19, I’ve found it helpful to focus on gratitude. I’m thankful for more family meals with my husband and my teenagers. I’m thankful for mornings spent on the deck with my Bible and my journal. I’m thankful for the memories my sisters and I have made with my 88-year-old Dad over the past two years. My Mom died in February 2018, and we were slapped in the face with the reality of how short life is and the importance of spending time with the people we love. So, in June 2018, my Dad, sisters and I decided to take a trip together, just the 4 of us. My Dad said he had never been west of the Mississippi, so we made plans to visit Washington and Oregon. We were gone seven days, and we saw the beauty of the mountains, annoyed each other as only sisters can do, and laughed—a lot. My sister Lori came up with the idea to tell the wait staff at each restaurant that it was my Dad’s birthday. He celebrated a lot of birthdays that week, and maybe we got to make up for some of his birthdays that we missed celebrating in person in prior years. In June 2019, we went west again to visit Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park. We saw buffalo, geysers and glaciers and continued our new tradition of celebrating Dad’s birthday whenever possible.
It’s not been easy to make these trips happen. We’ve had to search to find a time that my sisters and I can take off from work and our own families. We’ve budgeted, talked and texted for hours to make reservations and plans. We’ve worried about whether Dad is healthy enough to travel and what we would do if he got sick away from home. But the memories we made are priceless.
By the time this post is published, I hope to be on another trip with my Dad and my sisters. Because of COVID-19, we are sticking closer to home and renting a cabin in the woods. We’re taking appropriate safety precautions due to Dad’s age, but there are still risks. There are also great rewards. We hope to come back from this trip with more birthday celebrations, more laughs, more memories.
We don’t know how much time we have left together, so it is more important than ever to spend it wisely.