A North Shore Family Trip

Ever do something–something that you really put your entire self into, something maybe outside of your comfort zone, something you’re nervous about and that takes a lot of planning, you know–something like a week long vacation, in a single level home, with nine other people (18 months-70(ish) years), six hours away from home?

Well, I did–I did just that, in fact.

And, despite all the anxiety, planning, what-if’s, and unforeseen circumstances–I think I did great!  I did my best.  I made sure to focus on my eating and exercise before we left in order to curb anxiety.  I made packing lists a couple weeks in advance for both kids, both dogs, and myself.  I helped to plan the group meals, and planned all of our individual meals well in advance.  I shopped and packed ahead of schedule.  I planned hikes, and activity ideas before leaving.  I even lead dinner table meetings, for over a week, before the trip about all of this; AND, I worked my tail off to get posts scheduled, editing caught up, clients contacted and all over hanging work finished up before hitting the road.

So much of this trip felt like a challenge to me–yet, a challenge I was so happy to accept.  I was so far outside of my comfort zone, and had to be so ‘on’ the whole time–yet, it was so fun, and rewarding, for me to feel successful at it.  A few years ago, the anxiety would have destroyed me and left me, and everyone around me, a mess–I felt accomplished in not letting it control me.  (It’s way more fun for all that way. 😉 )

The trip, itself, was wonderful.  I learned so much and bonded with family through it all.  I had huge laughs, went on some adventures, got a little quiet time, ate great food and slept good.  I did end up getting strep throat while there and I ended up at a little clinic–but, the clinic was a whole memory in itself, and a good one, at that.  (Seriously.  Grand Marais has a fabulous clinic that treated me SO well, and fixed me right back up.  I only let myself stay ‘down’ for a day–had I been at home, it would have been longer, I’m sure.  I just didn’t want to miss any of the trip.)

Anyway…here’s the kicker–when we all got back, and my husband called the trip a disaster, and then told me his mom also called it that.  He said their expectations weren’t met and the trip really let his parents down.  He said it was a huge waste and there was a bunch of disappointment.  I felt so sad that they felt that way.  All of that pride I had in what I accomplished, what we accomplished as a family, just kind of dried up.  I felt terrible, and I felt like an idiot for thinking it was a nice trip.  I kept thinking about how I could have made it better for everyone and blaming myself–despite knowing, it wasn’t my fault.  Have you ever had something like this happen?  I had a thank you card all ready to go for my MIL–and, I just kinda stuck it back in the drawer it came from and let it sit there.  (Yeah.  It’s still there.)  I feel like I was blind to thinking I did good–or that the trip was good.  But, in my heart, I genuinely feel like it was wonderful–all around.  (With flaws, of course.  But, what ISN’T flawed!?  It’s all in how we deal with it, right?)  ((Also, I’m an artist-type…I’m definitely more sensitive to certain things, like, well, everything. 😉 I think most people would have brushed all of this off–but, I can’t.  I get stuck.))

Yes.  I got sick and so did my oldest kid–but, we got better and had really nice help while doing so.
No.  The weather wasn’t awesome every, single, day–but, it made for a wonderful view and it made staying inside together more fun.
Yes.  Others had preexisting health issues that followed them up there–but, they knew about them, had meds, and they did their best.
No.  I did not parent like the other parents who were there–but, everyone does things differently, and we all do what is best for us, and our own families.  (Also…yes.  I bit my tongue when they called my two year old a ‘little shit’ and proceeded to talk about everything they couldn’t stand about him, and how he talks.  Ugh.  I threw some major shade though.  Okay.  Maybe I’m not, quite, over this one yet.  I’m a mom.  Gimme a break–I think I’m allowed to take offense when people say mean things about my children.)
No.  Not everyone agreed on everything or was in the best mood all the time–but, that’s life.  (And, that’s what a sense of humor is for.)
Yes.  My dogs were terrible for their sitters and one of them tried to eat her way through a door to escape–but, my sitters were very kind about it all.  Thankfully.
No.  We didn’t get to all the games that we had hoped to–but, that’s what happens when schedules are different, toddlers get sick, and tired takes over at night.
Yes.  I do believe we all tried our best–but, life happens.  Nothing but Hallmark is Hallmark (and they’re staged)–especially not real, everyday, families.

I enjoy differences so wholeheartedly.  They make us who we are and that’s what draws people to us, and teaches us about things.  I love things that aren’t ‘perfect’, because I feel normal, and like I fit in there.  Maybe that’s WHY I enjoyed the trip so much?  I don’t know.  I do know that all that pride I had in our trip is still there–just silently.  I just can’t look at it like everyone else–it goes completely against who I am inside.  Also, this is why I love my job, I love being a photographer, I love finding those differences in others and bringing them out–I love when others are proud of their imperfect and want to show it off.  Because, guess what!?  I wanna be proud of it too–and, I want to show it off, too.

The photos I took from this trip have just kind of been sitting there too.  I fell, so deeply, in love with so many of the shots–but, I know now, that every time I was shooting a moment that was beautiful, and perfect, to me…that someone else was feeling disappointed and like everything was broken beyond repair.    I have recently been going through these photos with very bittersweet eyes–I’m having a hard time looking at those moments that I loved, as anything other than that.  So, that’s why this blog exists.  That’s why I’m writing it.  If this is the only place I can showcase the pride I felt during this trip–then, I’m fine with that.  I’m so glad I have photos, though.  I’m glad I took them, and I can’t wait to print some.   I want to hang some, but am hoping that when others look at them, my joy doesn’t remind them of their pain.  Maybe I’ll just hang them in my room…just in case.

4 thoughts on “A North Shore Family Trip

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