With everyone asleep, we sat awake into the night hours playing an inebriated version of the board game “iMAgiNiff.” We used the game to ask each other the random and inconsequential questions that usually take months of dating to answer. This was my first extended conversation with Jenna, yet at a ski resort in Virginia I was learning all of her intricacies. Her favorite crayon color, what kind of animal she would be, and other important data one uses when choosing a potential mate…almost 8 years later it’s obvious she passed the test. I, on the other hand, probably slipped by with a “C”.
One of the many similarities we learned that night is that we both have family in Minnesota. So when we planned how to traverse the U.S., we chose the northern route. I spent a lot of summers and winter holidays visiting family in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” and have fond memories of fishing, swimming, 3 & 4-wheeling, boat rides, sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, etc.
We took full advantage of the opportunity to relive a portion of our childhoods while in MN. It was also nice to visit family without the rushed schedules we had become accustomed to since “growing up” and getting the “adult jobs” that required us to ration our precious leave. During our few weeks in MN we went to my cousin’s wedding, visited family, fished, relaxed, and tried our best to sloooow down.
Overall, we had a great time in Minnesota…but it definitely didn’t go as planned. We had planned to spend time with my grandfather at his cabin, but he passed just weeks before our arrival. We wanted to spend time with my grandmother at her lake house, but she ended up in the hospital with a shattered elbow, just two days before we arrived. Jenna’s uncle also passed suddenly while we were in town, and her grandmother was admitted to the hospital. These were all reminders of why we are taking this trip. Reminders that no amount of planning can account for the unexpected, and reminders to cherish our time with family.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver