Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I still remember the day quite vividly.  My mom and I were sitting in their living room in these God awful sea-foam green chairs they had.  Jay and I were still only dating.  I was in my first semester of college and Jay was away at college.  It was tough being apart and our relationship was a bit rocky.  On a whim, my mom and I decided to head off to Chicago for a long weekend.

That was what started a long tradition.  Every summer, my mom, sister, and I would whisk away to the Windy City and spend until our bank accounts were bone dry, eat at all our favorite restaurants, and giggle as we would try to hold our breath in the back of the stinky taxi cabs.  We had a blast. We were the perfect balance:  I was the crazy shop-a-holic that could not possibly find enough hours in the day to shop to my hearts content; my sister HATED shopping, but preferred doing more educational nonsense, like browse book stores, travel stores, or the Apple store; and mom was in the middle, just going along for the ride and enjoying every second.

We continued this tradition for YEARS.  When I finally got married and was quite pregnant with Ethan, we STILL made our way to Chicago, and I bought myself my first maternity swim suit (hot pink, mind you!)  Once I had an infant at home, we slowed things down a notch.  We still did our annual girls trip, but we kept it more simple such as Frankenmuth or Saugatuck, and more often than not, we had a crazy toddler in tow.

Our last girls trip (plus Ethan!) was to my parents camper.  My mom, Ethan, and I drove in one car, and my sister drove up with her husband a day or so later.  We still had a great time.  We made smores, took turns with Ethan in the pool, and just all around enjoyed each others company.

Last year was the first year we DIDN'T go.  Last year we were too busy adjusting to our new lives post-incident.  It might seem selfish and petty, but when Leslie was SO critical, the thought of never doing our girl trips again was a thought I couldn't even fathom.  It physically hurt my heart to even think of it.

Tomorrow, we restart our tradition.  No, we aren't heading back to the Windy City (although I would love to go again someday!)  We are keeping it simple and going camping.  I'll be bringing my two kids along as well, because you simply can't go camping WITHOUT them!

This weekend we will be reminded of the changes we never asked for, but this weekend will also reaffirm to each of us that nothing, not even sudden cardiac arrest and anoxic brain injuries can stop us from having an amazing time.

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