In last week’s blog, we wrote about reconnecting. We didn’t realize that we had allowed ourselves to grow distant from some of our own personal values. Values like nature, our land, the people and our pride in our beautiful country.
This week, we continued the process of reconnection. But this time, our melancholy was focused on family and home. The impetus for those opportunities to reconnect came as a result of a fabulous family vacation and the passing of our home state’s senator, John McCain.
Deborah and I talked about and began to put together this week’s blog while I was driving BAM and she was sitting in the passenger seat beginning the draft of her thoughts on her laptop. Over the past few days, and in private, I have watched Deborah experience, reflect, and share the many emotions that have deeply touched her. I, too, have experienced many of the same emotions.
When I read what Deborah had written, I decided that rather than adding to her perspective and offering up my own story, that I would encourage you to read, and experience the beautiful memories and thoughts she has expressed.
One night, earlier this summer, while camping with our daughters, Tara and Brandi, Brandi shared her dream of having a “family vacation” on the Oregon Coast. Brandi told of the wonderful memories she had of visiting Seaside, Oregon as a young girl. Now, she wanted to share that location and experience with her own family and begin to create special memories for her young family. Tim and I were inspired with her dream and we quickly accepted Tara and Brandi’s invitation to join them in Seaside in August.
Together, with Tara and Brandi, our two grandson’s Duncan (6 years old) and Colton (2 years old) and Brandi’s parents, Steve and Jennifer Naval, we met up in Seaside on a recent, cool August day.
There, the Navals and the Batemans spent five fabulous days together. During the days, we spent hours on Seaside’s and Cannon’s massive beaches, watching and playing with the boys while they ran on the beach, and played in the sand and the water. We experienced the arcades and enjoyed ice cream.
In the evenings, all of us came together and gathered around the warm and crackling campfire and talked, laughed, told stories and reminisced about the day. It was during one evening, with all of us sitting around the campfire, that Tara declared, “I think we should make this Oregon Coast visit an annual family event!”
It was immediately agreed upon, by each one of us, right on the spot, that we needed to do just that. An annual family Oregon coast trip it would be.
The time we spent together, as a family, was the stuff from which memories are made. As a family, we played board and card games. We ate, together, outside on the picnic table. Leaving our campsite, we took field trips to Ecola State Park, Tillamook Creamery, and the Tillamook Air Museum.
“The greatest legacy we can leave our children is happy memories”
A few days later, when the weather turned cold and rainy, we gathered inside BAM, and watched the boys jump on the furniture, wrestle, and played more games.
Ultimately, when it was time to say good-bye, melancholy overcame me. My eyes filled with tears, my voice cracked, and my heart ached. The girls were packed and their R-Pod Trailer was hooked up to their truck and positioned to leave. The boys were securely buckled in their car seats for the trip back home. Each of the girls gave Tim and me wonderful, warm, emotional good-bye hugs.
I went to each side of the truck to say my own good-byes to my grandsons. I could tell Duncan was feeling melancholy too. He looked sad, and gazing downward, couldn’t or wouldn’t meet my eyes. I told him that I was going to miss him and we would FaceTime soon. He had experienced a wonderful time besting me at the SORRY board game, each time we played. I knew that at 6-years old, he would retain these wonderful memories of the last five days. I secretly prayed that, one day – many years from now, he will remember our family time on the Oregon Coast and will want to replicate a similar type of vacation for his own family.
I went to the other side of the truck to say goodbye to 2-year old, Colton. He was smiling, ready to say goodbye and give me a kiss. I told him that we would talk soon and to be good to his Mommys and big brother. My tears were threatening to become uncontrollable, so I turned to join Tim to wave goodbye as Tara, Brandi and my grandsons pulled out of their campsite.
As I turned, I heard Colton’s voice call out to me ……. “Nene.”
For a split second, I was afraid to turnaround and meet his gaze. Then, I heard, the sweet voice of a 2 year old call out, “I love you.”
I leaned up against Tim, seeking strength and comfort, and waved good-bye. “I love you too!” was all that I could manage.
While Colton might not recall this particular vacation when he is older, he enthusiastically participated as part of the family in making beautiful, forever memories.
“Memories are a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”
– Kevin Arnold
A Time to Grieve
With my family gone, I felt compelled to catch up on the news, from home, and learned that Senator John McCain has passed. While I had not always agreed with the Senator’s political positions, I respected his passionate leadership, unwavering patriotism, and his selfless stewardship.
His passing and the personal emotions it has evoked, have left me emotionally fragile and grieving. He was my Senator. He was part of the fabric of my home, my community, and he will be sorely missed.
It is my personal opinion, that in my lifetime, that today’s political divisiveness is one of the saddest things to happen to our country. Senator McCain frequently put partisanship aside to do what he thought was best for our country and his Arizona constituency.
My Hopes and Dream
It is my hope and dream that Senator McCain’s example will reconnect our country to the values of working together to find that “middle ground” and make good things happen and pull us away from the mandates and expectations of a political party.
“Nothing in life is more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself, something that encompasses you but is not defined
by your existence alone.”
Community and Home
Senator McCain’s passing has also ignited my homesickness. Tim and I continue to drift toward home, but we still have two weeks on the road. I have cherished our Risk Blossoming adventure, but when we received an invitation from the McCain Family to attend the local, Phoenix services for Senator McCain, I was sad that we would not be able to attend and pay our respect. At the same time, I realized how much I was missing my community, my home, and my friends.
Last week, I shared that sometimes we don’t recognize that we have pulled away or detached ourselves from some our values until something happens that serves as a reminder.
“Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.”
– Victor Hugo
It seems that my life is an ongoing lesson, and overflowing with reminders! As I reflect on my melancholy, brought on by saying good-bye to my family and saying good-bye and grieving for Senator McCain, I do recognize the silver-lining and the blessings that are mine.
I have recognized and reconnected to the joy and bliss of “being with family and making forever memories” and all the blessings one receives by being part of a dynamic and giving community.