That’s how long it’s been since I last set foot in my 2nd most favorite place of all time. That’s far too long, in my opinion. But tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow, I fly.
Montana, here I come!
Just me. I’m flying solo, as they say…
And I honestly have no clue what I’m going to do with myself. A real, true to life vacation? To Montana? Is this really happening? I’m almost afraid to question it too much, in case it’s just a dream…
I first had the pleasure of experiencing Big Sky Country back in 2005, when Mountain Man and I were just babies and still in the dating phase of our relationship. It was my first time ever taking a full on family vacation with someone else’s family.
Ennis, MT circa 2005
Little did I know that this place was going to be forever imprinted on my heart.
Since then, Mountain Man and I have only been back a total of 3 times in the 10 years we have been married. We spent the 2nd half of our honeymoon in Montana, driving along the Road to The Sun up to Glacier National Park…and enjoying all the beauty of God’s creation.
Honeymoon June 2007
Babies…we were just babies.
We swore we would make it back every year. Well, you know what happened?
Life. Life happened.
Jobs changed. Incomes varied. Babies…oh the babies.
Babies having babies. I’m 35, and I still don’t feel like I’m old enough to have 3 kids.
But I digress.
Our next venture back to our home away from home wasn’t until the Fall of 2011… J-Man was just 8 weeks(ish) old. It was a whirlwind adventure of bumped flights (y’all, I do not recommend flying on buddy passes with an infant. Or ever. Just don’t do it), visiting with family not seen in several years, an impromptu road trip, a lost (and found again, praise God) wallet, a drive by of Mount Rushmore. Cool? Sure. But we could see it just fine from our car window. For free. And my first sighting of a bull moose IN. THE. WILD. Y’all, that one had been on my bucket list for a looooooong time.
Minneapolis Airport…ready to hit the road!
North Dakota – Painted Canyon
Snuggles from Aunt S – circa 2011
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – Missoula, MT
J’Man’s 1st Fishing experience
See…just fine from the car. I cannot imagine it was any cooler up close.
This moose was put in that field by God, just for me…
But after that trip, the craziest thing happened. Life. AGAIN.
We tried over and over again to get back out there, but something would always come up. The car would stop working, we decided to start our own business, more life events…you get the gist.
Then last Fall, Mountain Man got to go on a guys fishing trip with one of his best friends. For a week and a half.
I saw pictures. It looked incredible.
And I was totally, and completely jealous. Not about the fishing part (I’m no fisher…woman?), but about the Montana part. The Big Sky Country… Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy that he had that opportunity to go. After all, that man is the hardest working man I know, and he deserved every bit of that trip.
Photo credit : Craig Dillenbeck
But now, it’s my turn.
I’m flying to Montana tomorrow all by myself. I mean, not technically “by myself”. There will be a pilot, and flight attendants…and other passengers. But no one that I will personally know. Part of me is flipping out (in the best way) because I get a real-life vacation from the every day. From the diaper changes, lunch packing, shuttle service, and temper tantrums. From the sibling fighting, sassy-ness you wouldn’t believe, and cooking and food prep.
And the other part of me is sad.
Sad that I am going to miss 7 nights of pre-bedtime tickle fights. 7 nights of butterfly and eskimo kisses. 7 nights of bedtime prayers, hugs, and singing “this is the way we brush our teeth”. 5 days of picking up J-Man from Kindergarten, and finding out all about his day. 5 days of “see ya later, alligator” as he leaves the house for school, with Mountain Man. 7 days of snuggles, cuddles, giggles, and smiles, and watching the kids pile on top of their daddy, at the end of a long day.
Taking a vacation without Mountain Man isn’t exactly my first choice. But in the phase of life we are in right now, it’s the only affordable way we can do these types of trips. But…
It’s going to be good.
It’s going to be great.
6 days of time with my Aunt and Uncle, whom I haven’t seen in 5 (almost 6!) years. I have no idea what all my Aunt and I will get into, but I can promise you that anytime you get the women in my family together, we know how to have a good time!
I have no less than 3 books packed. Now, I agree that this may be a bit ambitious…but I’m up for the challenge. Between the multiple flight changes I will have during my trip, and all the quiet/alone time that is expected, I’m excited to practice my grown-up reading skills. I mean, let’s be real… it’s been 5 years since I’ve been able to read (and finish) a book that didn’t contain pictures. My reality is filled with Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle, Sandra Boynton, and Anna Dewdney. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of those authors! But sometimes I just need to read a good suspense novel. Maybe you can really sink your teeth into the drama that poor Llama is going through on any given day, but I can’t. I just can’t.
But most importantly, I am looking forward to this as a time of refreshment. A renewing of my soul.
I will be able to have actual, quality quiet time with my Savior. Time to get into the Word. 7 days without my alarm giving me a ridiculously early morning wake-up call, just to make sure I can get 20 minutes alone with Him before my house turns into absolute chaos. A few days where I will be able to sequester myself to my room without feeling like I am abandoning my family, and just sit in His presence. 6 beautiful mountain mornings where I can sit on the back deck with my cup of coffee, without having children yelling in my ear, and going here and there – inevitably requiring me to heat up my coffee no less than 4 times. I can actually finish a cup of coffee before it gets cold!
I am definitely looking forward to that.
If the spirit moves me, I may pick up the iPad and write a post during my time away…but in the event you don’t hear from me for the next week, now you know why.
So long, folks!
Here I come, Montana!!
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous