I have dreams, but I have memories and fears too.
Driving through the Adirondack Park on an audit route this weekend, I found myself passing through Old Forge. Old Forge, the place of many summer family getaways, canoeing on the rivers and lodging in mini log cabins and bed and breakfasts.
They all started the same. Mom and Dad would pack frantically, at the last minute as was with everything, while my little brother Kamryn and I would gather our books and DVDs. Mom and Dad would load up her green Mercedes SUV, while Kamryn and I would bicker about which side of the car (Mom's or Dad's) each would sit on. A strange premonition of the split my family would suffer only a few short years later. Finally ready, we launched. Soon we would arrive, greeted by log cabins in miniature.
Those were happy days. Those were filled with wonder, as sparks floated out of camp fires like red hot fireflies. Those days were filled with stories, memories, learning, experiencing. Many times we would emerge from our cabin to find deer grazing around the clearing. Approaching slowly we were able to feed and pet the desensitized creatures while mom looked on, camera in hand.
Dad had never been an adventurous person, so naturally Mom would take us in the canoes. I remember paddling with her as Kamryn lazed around as if we were servants, as she told us stories about how wild rice was harvested from rivers just like this one fourteen hundred miles away in her native land of Minnesota.
I've wanted to go back, relive some memories, see some spots, but I hadn't gotten the chance. Unfortunately for me, I was working past dark so seeing places wasn't a possibility this weekend. But on my way there I was struck by how beautiful it is in that area. I pulled over by a small lake to take in the sunset and I realized how blessed I am to live in this beautiful State in which world renown cities cohabitate with hidden beauty such as this.
I've been thinking a lot lately, initiated by the changes about to happen. Thoughts and memories, both hopeful and morose, have plagued my conscious. Memories of my mother and the relationship I wish I could have with her, worries about my father and his prospect once I move out, regrets based on my lack of presence in Kamryn's life... I know that it's not that I don't care, but that I am not about to let things that I cannot control ruin my future. I'm moving to a bright new promising city, into an apartment of my own. This alone is enough to make me cry with joy. As I went shopping for decor and household items I found my eyes welling up in TJMaxx, realizing that this was the first time that I was making these decisions and choices and advancements on my own. I realized that I was free. I'm an adult. This is my life and I'm building it. I've finally broken from the prison I lived in for so long, living under other people's expectations and realizing that the only ones that mattered were my own and God's.
This is my life. Not Mom's, not yours, not anyone else's. And I like it like that.