I would be lying if I said my life was easy and perfect and that everything always goes as planned. I would be fibbing I said that I’ve never broke down because something I have looked forward to took a turn for the worse and disappointment was the fuel for my tears. And my nose would be fourteen feet long if I said that deep down I wasn’t just a little bit thankful that things don't always go the right way.
We are a family that thrives on adventure. We don’t like to do the same thing twice and are always up for something new which means that we are often ill prepared and acting like complete dorks more than we would like to admit. But if I look back through my file of memories, I very rarely remember a day when everything was easy and simple. Not because they never exist, because they certainly do, but because those are the ones that tend to fade away. Instead I remember the things that went wrong, how we fought through, and how hard we laughed when the whole things was over.
We recently went on a camping weekend with a few other families. The campground was lovely. The meals were divine. The campfires were great. And years from now, I won’t remember any of that. I will remember the river trip that went wrong.
“Let’s go tubing!” we decided, and after a morning of lounging around we found a nearby livery. While passing out our gear, the man said, “River’s low. Might take you six or seven hours.” In all honesty, I thought he was kidding. The web site I had looked at (which I now think was another business or malicious liars) said the tubing trip was only two hours. Still laughing and excited about our day, we went sailing downstream.
Within minutes our group had split. There were crying children. A lady in a kayak went past and told us it was going to be a long seven hours and that we would be starving and sunburnt. Then she laughed, put her cigarette back in her mouth, and paddled away.
A few hours into this fun family fest in the water, it clouded over and the sky opened up to spit down upon us pelting raindrops of fury. The kids were done and grumpy and for the last two hours of our trip, my husband and I each grabbed handfuls of rafts and walked while we pulled our friends down the river until the fateful moment when we reached the pick up point, drenched, frozen, exhausted, and starving. Had our teeth not been chattering, we would have been smiling.
“Making memories,” my husband said.
Sometimes the best ones are made on the worst days.
Originally written 7.31.16