Here it is 5 days later, and I am just now recovering from an overnight camping trip my family and I took. It had been 2 years since the last time we went camping, and even though I knew it would be hard on my body, I was very eager to go. We went up to the Uintas here in northern Utah. Along the Mirror Lake Scenic Byway, there is campground after campground that puts you smack dab in the Ashley National Forest. It is so beautiful up there. The air is clean and crisp, there is hardly any cell service, and it is by far my family’s favorite place to go. So it was the 4 of us + our dog, and my little brother, Dillon and his girlfriend, Ashley. We got up there mid afternoon and ended up with a great campsite. There was plenty of shade and a river just a walk away. The only real problem was there was all this loose dirt that my boys covered themselves in. We had a great night and even went for a mini hike to that river the next morning. We were supposed to stay 2 nights but everyone but me insisted on coming home that afternoon. I was so grateful they all wanted to come home because I was dying. Even so, I wasn’t going to be the one to make us leave…again. I am always the reason we have to cut trips short, or even avoid doing something fun altogether. Not this summer though, not a chance.
I am determined to have a Phineas & Ferb summer. Most of you will know what I am talking about, but for those of you that don’t, might I suggest watching the Disney channel’s most awesome show. The basis of the show is to have fun, make the most of each day, and make the 104 days of summer vacation the best ever. So that is exactly what we are doing. With the inspiration of Phineas & Ferb, we have resolved to do 104 things this summer. It is a lofty goal considering my condition but, I really think we can reach it. True we are only at #11 but each day is an opportunity to add to our “104 Things of Summer Vacation”
Besides #10 our Camping trip, we have things like #2 Graduation ceremony for Dillon and #5 Learn how to ride a bike without training wheels. There is no real requirement other than the memory it creates. I will not be adding ‘Doing Chores’ or ‘Sitting Around’. Some events will be small and easy, others will be trips that have taken planning and money. We already have 34 more things that we have decided to do. For instance we are taking a trip to Denver in July, that will add at least 5 more. We have silly things you wouldn’t even associate with summer like, Learn Mario Bro’s Song on Guitar. Or super simple things like Getting Squishies at 7Eleven. The possibilities are really endless.
My Chiari has limited me so much, each year getting worse, but that does not mean my family can’t have fun. I have been getting a lot better at accepting (to a point) that I can not do things. Instead of thinking about all the activities that I can no longer take part in, I have been focusing on what I can. For example, I haven’t been able to go on my dad’s boat for years, however that doesn’t mean I have to cut myself off completely from going out on a body of water. So I thought about it, broke it down and figured out what exactly it is about boating I couldn’t do. It is the bumps, the ones that you feel going over the wake, and taking a boat up to cruising speeds. They are scary for someone who has no skull, and a screwed up neck. Even going on a dirt road jars my head and neck so bad it hurts for days. But what if I could eliminate that? Is there anything else about being on a boat I shouldn’t do? Not a thing. I can swim, and as long as I don’t stay in the sun too long I would feel perfectly fine. After I figured this out, the answer to boating seemed so simple. How ’bout I wear my neck brace? How ’bout I ask my dad to cruise at a slower speed, just when I am riding? And just like that, by changing my thinking process just a little, I have been able to open up and safely participate in an activity that has been closed off to me for the past 4 years. Boating is just one example, there are so many others.
Obviously there are some things that I will never be able to take part in, no matter how clever my thinking is. I can’t go on roller coasters, I would never be able to water ski or otherwise, somethings are just, and never will, be safe for me to do. That doesn’t mean I have to hold my boys and husband back. I can’t limit anyone else to just things that I can do. I am not gonna lie, it takes some work not getting jealous of what others can do, and it takes even more work being okay with being left out of some activities. I don’t want to be a Mom or Wife that is selfish and is a damper on everyone else’s fun.
With that being said, I move forward with my 104 Things, and look forward to all the memories we make this summer. After all “Today could possibly be the best day ever”
*If any of you have any suggestions on things to add to our list, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply comment here*