Monday, July 29, 2013

A Man, His Dream, and a Little Bit of Green Paint {Behind the Scenes}

Lincoln: This man. Us : This family. Both having dreams of a better life. A better time. 

Or even just a better day.  

That can happen sometimes when you travel with your family.  What starts out as a day full of promise and anticipation ends up being a memory that you would rather forget.  And you ask your spouse, "How can they fight when we are spending so much money to give them these experiences?!" And you shake your head, yet also knowing that they will never appreciate the history of this kind of trip the same way I did not appreciate all of my college classes on writing and the Bible (Seriously, there were SO may kings!). 

So the memories will come even in the tiring times: The endless game of Tag Back that results in tears. Hearing, "How much longer?" so many times you are tempted to say, "We get there when we get there, so cool it!" and you will have just become your father in the wood sided station wagon so many, many years ago.  

I find that I actually understand and forgive my family for many things that happened on my childhood vacations.  There was the one time when I was seven that we climbed Pikes Peak, our family of five, and my father bought us two cookies and one glass of milk to share.  We laugh about that story to this day.  Yet, there we were, last week,  in our Nation's Capitol and I heard myself saying, "No, you do not need your own lemonade, you can share with everybody." (Beverages in DC and on any type of mountain are very expensive!)

And yet, we still have these dreams.  These dreams of perfect vacations and perfect moments that we can fill our scrapbook with Pinterest ideas. And we pray that we can at least get one picture that is Christmas Worthy:

What gives us away as tourists?  
Hmmm, could it be the matching shirts?! 
Please note the lemonade in my son's hand.  Thankfully, they were all sharing!

This place of honor and history and hope. This monument gives people this hope.
We were there just hours before this Lincoln was vandalized. (We had nothing to do with the green paint.  I promise...).  That is what we hope for...not liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but just a vacation that our children will remember fondly. A vacation that will bind us together with a loyalty and love that will stand the test of  time of junior high tween years and high school teen independence.

But as I think back on those moments of my family vacations, I have found that some of the ones I most remember are the ones that we struggled through.  That is what shapes us, that is what binds us, not only for the character that becomes embedded as we have to share, and give for one another, but also because we don't  want to tell anyone else what actually happens during some of those vacations. Those stories get told only to family who understand who we are or maybe to really good friends.  

A gal I have known since high school shared a story when her family visited Gettysburg and her high school son actually said the words, "This is why I like going on mission trips better than family trips, so I don't have to deal with this stuff." and stormed away from the picnic bench after a particular stimulating growth opportunity (read: Big fight).  Yet, this same young man just a few days later was laughing while playing water polo with seven little cousins.  I like to think God designs our minds with the capacity to remember that which will change us - hopefully for the better.

A little twist on Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address eloquently describes a perfect family vacation motto: The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but {we} can never forget what {we} did here.

So behind these smiles, is hope.  A hope that these kids will stick up for each other, call each other for their birthdays, ask each other to stand up in their weddings. And, as Chesterton said, hope  is the power of being cheerful in circumstances we know to be desperate. Lincoln had that hope.  I have that hope.  And I pray that my children will have that hope.

Because let's face it, we know our kids will face much more desperate times as they get older, but at the age of seven, it seems pretty desperate if your mama will not buy you a taser at the Old Post Office Gift Shop. 

Now, your turn:

What are some vacation moments that you still remember from your childhood??

Linking up with some wonderful ladies that get real and encourage at Behind the Scenes. Join us here.


Diana said...

I remember my father cursing and yelling while he alone had to set up the pop-up camper in the pouring rain (or break it down!). Beautiful post, as always. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Dear Angie
Yes, those family hiccups make for interesting times! I live in South Africa and my favorite vacations have always been camping with my whole extended family in the Kruger National Park and Namibia! That was such good times.
Much love XX

Angie said...


That is hilarious! Our family's timeline was tent camping, a pop-up, a trailer camper and then my parents decided to buy a cabin by a lake so we wouldn't have to camp anymore. Although those vacations were the times I remember best. :)


Angie said...

Dear Mia,

What a blessing to be able to camp with your family! I think there is something about the outdoors that brings everyone together. It is a time to "unhook" from electronics and go on bike rides, hikes, and of course, s'mores! :)

Have a great Tuesday!

Mel said...

We didn't take family vacations when I was growing up, and it's something I grieve still...I wonder what kind of memories we would share together if we had gone on those crazy adventures and had the silly stories to tell.

But what I learned? Is that I want my girl to have those memories and stories...whether from big family vacations or overnight camping trips. So bring on the adventures with a toddler! :) (And we're planning to take her to Indonesia with us next year...we're kind of already asking for prayer...) ;)

Blessings, sweet this post. Happy Tuesday to you!

Anonymous said...

Angie, this post is lovely! It brought tears to my eyes while reading. I have a 20 year old son and 4 year old twins. The dynamic has changed now with our 20 year old as he is creating his own life. I know how precious these memories are and how fleeting time is. You stated this beautifully! I loved every single word!

Vanessa said...

Angie! This is a wonderful post :) Ah those memories. We all have this hope for our kids, don't we? At least I have seen for myself and my siblings that despite all our bickering and disagreements we are still pretty close. So it can happen!

Unknown said...

I remember the Pop Up trailer and the endless camping trips. A swim at dusk and then drying off as we changed into our PJ's there was something about getting into soft PJs after a swim that feels delicious. Campfires, marshmallows and the murmuring voices of adults as we slept under a blanket of stars. Thanks for taking us along on your holiday friend.

Angie said...


Indonesia? Please tell! I will start praying now for that trip! And yes, those memories are priceless, yet even without the vacations, I love how God intertwines families! So good to read your words!

Blessings Friend!

Anonymous said...

Due to the way my hubby has to work we have not been able to take very many vacations with our kids as they were growing up. I regret that but we did try to make sure we took several mini vacations over weekends and such. I just pray they hold those memories as dear as I do.

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