Ocotillo was just one of many trips that my family would take very year. We'd go to Yosemite in the Spring, Lake Mojave in the summer where we'd waterski, jetski and boat... Mammoth every winter to ski and snowboard, and every few years, we'd rent a houseboat with friends on Lake Powell. I can't imagine how much work went into these trips- the packing of clothes, food and essentials to take a trip with 3 kids (let alone 4!). It's a big friggin' deal! All I had to do was get into bed in our motorhome at 4am, when we'd leave for the trip, and I'd wake up to the smell of pancakes that my mom would be cooking in the kitchen while we drove. One of my favorite things to do would be to hang my head out the back window like a dog, and listen to music on my walkman. My dad would always drive. My mom wasn't allowed to drive the motorhome because as my dad would say, "If she sees one bunny rabbit in the road, she'll swerve, and kill us all!". My dad would stop at every plaque on the road and read about the history of every little thing- I'd roll my eyes and beg to stay in the motorhome- but, why??? Now, I get it. Sorry, Dad... teenagers can be such ungrateful little sh*theads! Before having kids, I never appreciated or thought about how much work my parents put into this stuff, not to mention the expense of it all, and my parents worked hard for it.
Married at 18, they saved every single penny they had, and working as a waitress and a machinist, bought their first home at 21. My mom started an in-home daycare and my dad became a sprinkler-fitter, and when I was 4, they put every penny into buying a house that was a big-time fixer-upper. Basically, the people they bought it from were in the middle of construction when they got a divorce. There were many holes in the walls and floors and my sister got so many flea bites that her school called CPS on my parents when she told them that "the bugs came from the big holes in the floor and bit me!". It was pretty torn up... but, now my dad owns his own company and that fixer-upper is their dream home. I barely remember those "hardships" as a kid- I just knew that I was always fed, and loved and didn't have a care in the world. Just as it should be.
I am grateful for my wonderful parents, and priceless childhood memories, and for my amazing husband and beautiful children. I look forward to the many adventures to come for our sweet family!