I’m one of those people who will click through each one my friend’s dozens of vacation pictures posted on Facebook. I love seeing what they experienced. I enjoy the smiles, the selfies, the panoramic views, the mouth-watering plates of food, but I’m most excited to see that summer vacation expression—freedom from work or school, relaxation at its finest.
When I was fourteen, my family took a vacation to Colorado—driving over a thousand miles in the hot summer sun (read: no air-conditioned car). Yet, that’s not what I remember most. It was the four of us, suitcases packed, road map in the glove box, route planned, motel stops (with swimming pools) and our final destination in mind.
Back home, a neighborhood kid was watering the plants and feeding the cats.
Most vacations have a purpose—sights to see, often for the first time—and this was no exception. We were traveling to Colorado—specifically to the Air Force Academy. My father was getting what would be his final promotion as Lieutenant Colonel.
Mom had checked out library books on the places we’d be traveling through and had found museums, and my dad had bookmarked ghost towns and mini-golf courses.
My sister had a stack of books to read as did Mom in the front passenger seat. My dad was able to tune in radio stations as we went in and out of signal along the roads. I gazed out the window most of those miles.
The ceremony at the Air Force Academy was serious but honoring. I shook the hand of my father’s Air Force commander and somehow felt a bit of the pride rub off on me for his career accomplishments.
Our camera was broken, so there were no photos from our vacation, but the images from inside the high arched Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel are etched permanently in my mind. So are the images of my father driving, my sister reading, and Mom reviewing her travel books—and the scenes from all the stops along the way. Hundreds of photos are in my heart. And friends, that’s a blessed place to store them.
So take the vacation, the memories are worth it all.
Photo Credit of Air Force Academy Cadet Capel: Spring Fed Images/Unsplash