While we were in Niagara Falls, I received a message from my sweet friend, Kara… “While you’re up north, come see us!” Bri had very wisely built in extra days into our vacation, and we had one extra on the tail end. Why not go see our friends and get a tour of West Point while we were at it? So Friday morning we packed up Gimli and hit the road for a long drive to West Point. We set up in a campground near the post and drove in to see Drew and Kara, whom we had known since their youth group days when we were their leaders. We sang in their wedding one week before Bear was born (yes, I was as big as a house), and have kept in touch as they have traveled through their Army days. Arriving on their doorstep to big hugs, warm blueberry cobbler and coffee on the back deck was a wonderful way to end a long day of travel, and the boys were especially excited to tour West Point the next day.
We woke slowly on Saturday morning, drove back on post for breakfast with our friends before our tour. We were greeted shyly by their two adorable boys, but they quickly formed friendships with our children, and Bella was disappointed to learn their baby was still napping. She couldn’t wait to meet him! Major Drew took us out to tour West Point, and we were thrilled with the architecture, the history, the beauty of this place. It was amazing to stand on the spot where World War II ended with the Japanese surrender and to see portraits of Thayer award winners among other things. Kara joined us when naps were over and we walked the grounds, looked at cannons and viewed the Hudson River.
After lunch Bri took the boys to the West Point museum while Bella and I napped on the couch. Then we met up with their friend, one of the football players for Army, and went out to dinner for amazing burgers and sandwiches, then ice cream down by the river. It couldn’t have been a more refreshing way to end our vacation. Good-byes that night were hard as we headed back to Gimli for one last night.
Hitting the road early the next morning, we had another long day of travel ahead of us and poor Ash had run out of books. (So earlier I asked y’all any guesses on how many books he read… here’s your answer: 22. Yes, 22 in one week and they were not small books! That kid is something else.) A little bit of napping, a movie or two, chatting about our trip and we arrived home in the evening. We stopped to pick up our Coopy Doopy Doo and the engine light turned on telling us our engine was overheating. WHAT?! We limped the rest of the way home exhausted and curled up for pizza and movie night to end it all. Happy and together.
Bri and I talked often on our trip about how well everything was going. The kids rarely bickered, we all got along splendidly, and our schedule of rest, play and friendship visits couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. We were amazed and grateful for how it all went. To be honest, coming home was really, really hard. For ten days I didn’t have to face doctors or chemo or make decisions regarding treatment. It was an escape from real life for a while, and real life here in the Valley while beautiful is really, really hard. I cried buckets, curling into Brian that evening. “I want to have so many more trips with you.” And we begged God for more, and we thanked God for this incredible trip He had given us… Watkins Glen, Seneca Lake, visits with old friends, delicious foods, museums and history, West Point, Niagara Falls and most of all, each other.
It was all such a gift. Such a gift.