I got back from my mini-vacation last night. Ella and I spent a quick 48 hours at a lake house on Seneca Lake...the middle finger of the Finger Lakes...with my family. Boy, did I need it! There have been things weighing heavy on my heart and I needed to get away from them to get some perspective. It was very easy to get that perspective on the deck of a house that overlooks a beautiful lake surrounded by trees.
I was there with my dad, brother, s'mom and the people I jokingly call "my white family," whom I adore. They include my s'mom's dad, my s'mom's brother, his wife and their three children. Since my dad and s'mom have been together so long, our families know each other really well. I love introducing people to one of my blond cousins with no explanation. Good times...
One reason I love my s'mom so much is that she is so supportive without being condescending. She isn't someone who will tell me everything I do is fine, but she listens wholeheartedly and that relaxes me. When we talk, I feel like she's totally there for me and I'm all there for her. I've learned more about my dad in the last few years through her than in my entire life through him. So the first thing I did when I arrived was grab her and talked some stuff out. It was a short conversation, but it was all I needed.
Another reason why I love this part of my family is that it is perfectly acceptable to do absolutely nothing. I didn't do a damn thing; there were moments where the living room was filled with people and we were all quiet. It was good practice for me.
The trip was awesome. Ella saw a lake for the first time and went swimming...she didn't like it. She saw a donkey, a miniature horse and two real horses for the first time as well. She didn't walk on concrete for three days. Good times...
It was also the first trip where the drive was actually part of the vacation. In order to save gas, I didn't speed through the way I usually do. And in turn, I saw beautiful vistas. I went through an area in Pennsylvania called the "Endless Mountain Region." The air was so sweet and clean up there, I didn't need the A/C at all. Ella loved the feel of the air on her face. With the beauty of cruise control, I could put my feet up and just drive. There were stretches of Route 81 where there was not another car in sight. Good times!
I didn't take any pictures...though Ella was hilarious as she tried to fit all four paws on one rock to avoid getting into the water. I wanted to be in the present and not think about the future. I think I succeeded...we'll see how long the perspective lasts.