Family vacations didn't change much until a couple years ago when both of my little brothers alternated throwing up while winding through canyons and Alex's glassy-eyed response to the next destination on the itinerary was, "Oh goody. More rocks."
At least that's the story he tells.
I was in Tennessee at the time. Since then, my dad's new job has resulted in frequent traveler points. Traveling has gotten infinitely cooler. When my parents announce where we'll be staying on our next vacation, my 12-year-old brother asks if there's a concierge lounge. We've come a long way from Motel 6 and car camping.
I don't miss the hot car with no air conditioning. I don't miss having to share a bed with my brother, drawing a clear line down the middle and swearing I would murder him if so much as a toe crossed it. I don't miss the rocks. Two decades of "rock trips" were enough for me. But I do miss the music.
My parents had two tapes we would play over and over on vacations: "Never Die Young" by James Taylor and "When Hell Freezes Over" by the Eagles.
The Eagles' album opens with the song, "Get Over It," basically a rewording of my dad's mantra "No fussing, no whining, no crying."
Rocking out to the Eagles and watching Santaquin, Panguitch and Cedar City fly past, I was perfectly content to agree that everyone in the world really should "Get Over It." Life was good with it's blue skies and bright sunshine spilling through car windows, and I was sure if everyone else in the world stopped whining it would be even better.
I thought about this phrase a few times this week. First when my work schedule changed, then when the Internet wouldn't load on my laptop and again when I realized I was headed for a school I swore I would never be a part of. "Get Over It, Brooke." Life is good. There was green grass and wonderful music and good food. Then it snowed. It took a little longer to get over that one, but scraping off my car in the sunshine this morning I found myself realizing how very good life really was.
There is one thing, however, I will never get over.
As of this week, I have been home for a exactly year from a 19-month LDS mission trip in Tennessee. I've been flooded with the memory of intense emotion -- inadequacy, miracles, failure, total joy, pure love and deep friendships.
I might be tempted to move on now, to just "get over it." But I refuse. I would be losing too much of not just who I was, but who I am now.
Here's just a few things about Tennessee I will never, ever get over:
- Fried pickles
- The way Dalton smiled when he announced himself as a "Dictionary"
- Dogwood trees in bloom
- The confidence I was exactly where God wanted me
- A small apartment in Dickson and the smell of Jo cooking Indian food for breakfast
- Morningstar chicken nuggets
- Pulled pork and Southern bbq
- Haley's munchkins
- Superheroes and super powers
- Real rainstorms
- Watching a font fill and laying out clean, white clothing for a baptism
- The way the morning smells in Clarksville in the spring when you're jogging
- Wishing I could tell the man at the airport counter how much my heart was breaking when he asked if I was excited to be going home