I recently returned from a wonderful vacation up in the high mountains of Northern Arizona. Joining me were my daughters, sister, and nephews, all in celebration of my mother’s birthday. Before “take off”, I was lamenting the timing was awkward, as I had a million things going on in my life and taking off for an extended time seemed frivolous. My sister, a renowned chef in San Francisco, was also facing tremendous deadlines and “life” pressures. (Of course we didn’t dare express these concerns to our mother. Yikes!)
We met up in our home town of Scottsdale, and proceeded to all pack into a suburban, quickly leaving behind the deserts scorching heat. Watching the desert landscape change from cacti to the mighty ponderosa pine was breathtaking. I’d forgotten how beautifully diverse and outstanding the state I’ve spent the majority of my life in IS. The troubles I’d been focusing on just days prior slipped away as the elevation increased and the temperatures dropped. Arizona CHILLY in August? Spectacular!
We golfed, rode horses, hiked, explored the Native land and took in the pure, almost unbelievably clean air. AND ATE. My sister, Amanda, is truly a world class chef. I vowed ahead of time not to ask her to cook for us, as she’s been coming off of a most grueling schedule. Of course my kids didn’t let that happen, immediately chiming in with “Aunt Amanda, you HAVE to make the roasted cinnamon sweet potatoes! The organic steak! The secret veggies only you know how do!” The fun part was showing her all my latest concoctions and working together to create new things that everyone in the family loved. (I will be posting new recipes shortly, so stay tuned!)
My daughter Maddie, who is now 12, continued her running training on the trip. I didn’t tell her about the altitude making a difference. I’d get up and exercise in the cool, crisp air every morning, then follow her in the car as she ran her three miles. (Before your jaws drop at the sound of my extreme laziness, understand she runs a 7 minute mile and is greatly embarrassed when I do try to keep up with her. I can do it for a very short time, but then my 12 yr old impersonation wears as thin as the air.) While I DID notice the altitude during my runs, she did not. The power of the mind, perhaps!
My mom’s birthday was a wonderful event, with her tearing up the golf course in a setting she describes as, “Where my soul is always happiest.” It was a fantastic time for all, with the greatest fun being simply being together. The kids running around, engaging in the kind of joy that money really cannot buy. Watching my young nephew Connor tee off daily, or kindly instructing his cousins on the driving range. Hide and seek in the deep woods…It’s these moments I will treasure forever, and use as a note to always MAKE TIME for those we love and cherish.
I hope you have all had an enjoyable summer, participating in activities that make YOUR souls happy. (Do please continue to wear sunscreen! :))