I have dreamt about taking my children across the country for many years. When we had just the two older boys it seemed like the train would be a fun way to make the trek. Then after having two more little boys it all seemed harder. Deep in my spirit I knew I still wanted to try learning and teaching through the lens of experience, but I also loved nap routines and I wasn't willing to sacrifice the regular peace and quiet I so desperately needed as a mama of four loud, amazing, wild cowpokes.
Then in June of 2021, three days after Ben (my 2 year old) died, we were sitting in the funeral home picking out caskets and vaults and the funeral director told us we "need to get away afterward". I actually still have that note in my Bible:
My personal inscription in my Bible also says, "Share God with our children & share what He has done."
This trip has become those notes coming to fruition. I did need to get away. As much as I love family ranching I also needed to catch my breath from the overwhelming workload that is known as agriculture. I needed to take a breath from all of the commitments that I love being a part of, but am also terrible at ever saying, "no," to.
When Ben first died I just tried to keep "living" for my other boys. They still wanted to go and do and be and I wanted that for them. I really needed rest and quiet and a time and place to cry freely. Now that we are two years down the road from Ben's heaven homecoming I prayed about and decided that now was the time. With my oldest son a sophomore the potential for his departure from home is getting so close. Despite all of the reasons I shouldn't do this: finances (the cost of diesel is double what it was when I really started plotting this adventure), the unknown, traveling across the country being the only responsible adult, separating me from my husband and my boys from their daddy (for a short time period)... We are off.
We are getting away. That really is part of it. But we are also getting to see "what God has done," in our rich American history. We need to remind ourselves of what God has done in the big picture, but I also need reminded of His faithfulness in my own life and with my own family. I need the quietness to hear that again.
The desire and dream has become a reality and an adventure.
I'd rather have tried and failed than never tried at all.