Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Senior Trip--Finally

Heidi did New York. Tucker did LA.

I thought life had been busy when Heidi and Tucker graduated, but this summer has been unbelievably crazy.  I slept more away from home than I did in my own bed, and I didn't even think more than 2 seconds about taking Ben for a trip . . .

. . . until the Monday before Annie was blessed, and I counted how many weekends were left before he left for Peru. At that point, I realized that it would be almost impossible to squeeze in an amazing trip with him.

Instead of distant and amazing, I decided on close and kinda cool for three days. It's all I could manage at the last minute.

On Labor Day, Brad drove the four little kids home from Utah, and Ben and I rented a car and stayed.

Salt Lake City. Where we visit every year? Can you sense the underwhelm-ment?

I tried to make it fun and do things we never do while we're there.  I got a room right on Temple Square. This was our view from the hall of our hotel . . .
 . . . and from our room. 
Ben slept in both mornings past 9:30. I guess that could be considered a great vacation, right?

Our first day we spent at Lagoon.
We were the second people of the day to ride the Rocket and the Samurai.
Ben relived his accident in the bumper cars.
And we rode all of the roller coasters. Here's me pretending to be scared on the original roller coaster. Funny, but those old-school coasters can be scarier than the crazy new ones.

These gigantic Pokemon prizes snagged both our attention, and Ben did his darndest to bring two buddies home for his two little brothers.
The ring toss was not kind to him, but it was worth $5 to laugh together. I even threw a few myself.
Lagoon wasn't that fun, to be honest, so we cut our losses and left early. We spent the rest of the night down in Provo. I went to dinner and grocery shopping for toilet paper with Tucker and his girls while Ben spent the night before BYU started pretending he was a college student with a few of his friends from high school.

Tuesday "morning" (too late to get breakfast, but I guess it was still technically morning) we walked to the Joseph Smith Building for a little bite at the Nauvoo Cafe.
Next stop--the Salt Lake City Temple, where we did a session and some sealings. (For information on temple sealings, click here.)

Can I tell you how much I love this guy?
I showed him the room where Brad and I had been sealed together, forever to each other and to all of our children.
I love this beautiful building. It was the fairy castle of my girlhood and the highlight of my trip with my son.

That night, we ate dinner at The Rooftop Restaurant in the Joseph Smith Building and listened to some amazing live piano music as we indulged in magnificent food--then saw "The Giver" at a local theatre. The movie surprised both of us lovers of the book (in a good way), and we headed home early for me to do some homework (couldn't fully escape it all, I'm afraid).

Wednesday morning, "we" decided to hike up to Timpanogos cave. (I guess I decided and Ben went along with my idea, just because he's that kind of a guy.)
The ascent started easy enough. We were wondering why the ticket counter had allotted so much time for us to get to the top.
Ben had plenty of energy to dance his way up the slope.

. . . and make fun of the signs along the way. His comment was, "Aren't cliffs, by definition, steep?" Can't argue with logic like that, my friends.

He even took his life in his own hands by stopping momentarily under a "do not stop" sign.
It did get a little steeper, a little harder, a little . . . a lot. The altitude played into it some, but mostly I've been sitting on my duff all summer doing homework, and the climb showed that inactivity.

I had done the cave once before as a young teenager, and it was just as cool as I remembered it.

I had remembered how dark it was in the cave when they turned out all of the lights and the beautiful room called Caramel Falls. And of course, how could I forget the heart of Timpanogos?
My dad used to tell me the legend of the beautiful Indian princess and her ill-fated lover, and how her profile is now the mountain and his heart beats inside the cave. (One version of the legend can be found here.) I sat on the steps inside that 45* cave and listened as the tour guide brought back to life that story from my childhood. I don't think Ben was too impressed, but I loved it.

With only a few hours left before we had to leave, we had to hit J Dawgs and a little mission shopping (plus a quick detour into Barnes & Noble--can't keep this guy in books!)
It may not have been the most glamorous trip ever.

Let me rephrase. It definitely wasn't the most glamorous trip ever, but I didn't care. I got to spend three solid days alone with my grown son.
We talked every second we were awake--family, his mission, friends, education, merits of Wendy's frosties, his plans for the future--about everything.

One night, as we were driving home, Ben redirected the conversation, and I will never forget what he said.

"I had so much fun today--just talking to you. It was awesome."

That's exactly how I felt. It didn't matter that we hadn't gone somewhere exotic or exciting. The purpose behind the trip had been met--quality time before I lose my little boy forever to manhood.

Love you, Ben. 


  1. Priceless. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to try to do this with my 20 year old son at some point.

  2. Do you have any advice for the mom of a missionary since you have been through it before? My son has been gone almost a month and I am still feeling a little lost yet soooo happy for him. But sad for me and because it is over--not the mission, he just left, but the little boy I raised is gone forever it seems.


  3. What are Ben's favorite books? My second son is a Senior this year and loves to read and has read everything he can get his hands on! Do you or Ben have any suggestions?


  4. You're always making me cry! It's true I guess...kids remember the simple (more important) things...rather than the big trip. I'm glad your trip was a special one.

  5. I just think you are the best mom ever. Very intentional and purposeful about spending quality time with your family members. What a wonderful investment that you will reap rewards from for the rest of your life.

  6. Got teary reading what Ben said at the end of that day.


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