As we recently shared, our eldest child, Ann, moved across the country for college. For one last family getaway as “the six of us,” (as we label ourselves) we headed to the beautiful Rocky Mountains to Snow Mountain Ranch. With everyone’s busy schedules, it was the first time we’d escaped as a family in a very long time. Perhaps years.
Always on a budget, we all squeezed into one room with a couple beds and a sleeper sofa. Memories of past family road trips returned, when the kids were younger, smaller and it was easier to share a room, sleeping three to a bed. Now, our sons are both over six feet tall and our daughters like their privacy. Courtney and I worried about a rough night with everyone getting on each other’s nerves in such tight quarters.
Yet, at the end of a long day cavorting in the Colorado sunshine, all were tired and ready to call it a day. With no TV or technology of any kind in the room, there were no fights over what to watch. Instead, we were all in bed around 10pm. The girls shared a bed, giggling and whispering secrets to each other. One boy slept on the floor in his sleeping bag while the other sprawled over the sleeper sofa. Courtney whispered to me “This may be the last time we’re all together like this!”
There were giggles and snickers in the dark and some “shooshing” from the parents – but not too much since we were actually enjoying the sounds – this time. Everyone finally fell asleep but then, in the middle of the night, one of the boys let loose a loud fart that broke the silence, startling us all out of our slumber with more snickers and giggles.
The loud toot story got great play at breakfast in the morning, and we all enjoyed laughs and accusations as to who the culprit was. As we sat around a giant, round table at the lodge, Courtney and I remembered the game “telephone” and suggested we play it. How, after all these years of having four kids, had we never thought to play the game devoted to poor listening skills! It was a natural for us! So we played a few rounds and laughed hysterically over how butchered the original message got by the time it reached the last person.
The rest of the day was spent hiking, canoeing, horseback riding and relaxing in various configurations; not all of us wanted to do the same activities. That’s ok. We gathered at the end of the day again for dinner, and shared stories of the day. It was good to be together without the pressure of household chores and the usual grind. Having family fun can be a challenge to schedule, but it is so important to foster connections and create shared memories. Passing gas jokes included!