For any who know me, they know that I am a spontaneous traveler. I joke about having ‘commitment issues’, but honestly I have them. I think it may be more of a ‘fear of what tomorrow will bring’ problem. I am sure many who have lost children have this, imagine in one day, or maybe five, your entire future of plans and ideas is gone. You are left here to build a new future and plan new plans and create new ideas…. Or you can be me and pack lightly, jump in the car and head off to find some fun adventure. I know sometimes there are many more trips to Target for things forgotten, or plans that don’t go the way I planned. Honestly, I don’t think I would want to or could do it differently.
I love adventures, as I always call them. To most they would be unorganized bouts with chaos, but it is my way. I tend to drag my girls into it, we are known for packing up, even when there were diaper bags, and meeting people an hour away for a spontaneous dinner. I think it keeps us young, others would think we were nuts. This week is my week off and my niece happens to be hanging with us.
I had no time to plan any events or plans for the week, and think the weather would have kicked any plans to the curb. In my natural way, I decided we play the week by ear… sleep in, do nothing mixed with something. I wanted to check out things I put off until work was done and also honor Lucy’s demand to sleep in this summer (listen don’t poke a Lucy, she may not bite but she stings). So we set out on adventures.
We checked out Jumpin’ Jacks, a Waterski Show, pizza night, Indian Ladder hike and then visiting our friends at Indian Ladder Farm. We have been rockin’ a week of fun and simple. Today we thought we would head to the aquarium, but I thought about how sunny it would be. I woke the girls and told them they had an hour… we were going to the zoo. I had found a cool Groupon for a zoo in Catskill, south of Albany. I packed a fancy picnic of left over pizza and pb&j sandwiches on leftover hotdog buns… and the girls prepped. I jumped in the shower and we were off…
I love driving that way, the roads are different than up north. It is windy and so green, the whole area surrounding Woodstock and Hudson and Catskill is different than here in Albany. I am sure many say that when they visit back home, on Lake Ontario. Today we blared the radio, sang the songs and I let my hair blow everywhere. I didn’t even get pulled over.
We got off the thruway and wove our way through Catskill, a town I had only been in a couple of times. Google Maps told me to take a right on to 32, and I followed directions. I saw the most peculiar thing… a piece of home.
David Lane died while working in Catskill as a NYS Trooper. He was killed in a car accident.
I never really knew where David passed, or where they continued to honor him, beyond home. His family shares and celebrates him in the best way. I immediately looked in my rear view and forward and U-Turned (it was safe I promise). I went back and just looked, a piece of home left for heaven right here. Most northerners would never happen upon this sacred spot. I did. I saw his face, in his Trooper picture. I remember others talking about him, some who dated him long ago. I thought about his unfinished life, his fiancé. I felt it. I sat for a few and told the car full of girls about him. We drove on.
A few moments later I saw his marker on the side of the highway, back a way in a business’s yard, near a wooded area. I turned around (again) and went back to really look. It was well maintained and had a NYS Trooper tie and a beanie baby. I just peeked and went back to the car… I thought about another time…
I was training for my Marathon several summers back and I went out for my long run one day of vacation. It just so happened that Pillar Point was 21ish miles from my cottage back to my cottage, a nice long loop. I started very early and it was still dark. Several miles in I saw a memorial, Brittany’s spot… a place where a lovely left this Earth and headed to Heaven. I stopped and said a prayer, for that beautiful dimpled girl and her parents who missed her so. I remember Brittany from when she was little, her mom was a hair dresser and she had this smile that could win awards- flanked with dimples. I kept running that day, but after crying could never get my breathing back to a good, controlled breathe. I knew I would fail that long run and I called Matt to come pick me up 17 miles into that 21 miler. I felt it.
Today’s adventure, I felt like, was an opportunity to bring him along. I thought about David the whole day, not in a sad and terrible way. I know what it feels like to have a child in heaven, I felt like I brought David along today. He was my bit of home in an adventure far from home…
I think he enjoyed the zoo today… I really do. We did. We laughed at the ugliness of the turkeys, how did God make them to look that way… we reveled in the beauty of the peacocks and noted their shyness (I am sure in the wind it is a bad thing to be gorgeous and stand out)… we fed the llamas and snuck carrots to the camels. We chuckled at the pigs and I told the girls not to pick on them… no judgement here. Lucy growled at the tigers and one came out to see if we would be tasty. I am sure I looked to hard to catch, I think Amelia looked tasty.
I splurged and let all the girls (Hayle too), ride a horse and enjoy a little extra. I loved today, and yesterday… and pretty much all adventures. We headed back to my house and took the long way home. Part of the adventure is the journey… I am sure Hayle will never forget 8675309… or a the Matthew West song I belted with a nice deep tone. That is a good day… a spontaneously best day. A Best Day Ever…
I am grateful to have happened upon another family’s spot for their son, one from back home. I feel like I got a to bring a bit of him along today. I hope he enjoyed ❤.
For tonight we all rest… no one knows what tomorrow will bring here at the Musto Residence. I see another adventure….