Sometimes we give a lot of ourselves away to please others. Especially as a mother, and even as a wife. Last week my husband, daughter, youngest son and I took a road trip to New Jersey. Driving to New Jersey wasn't originally in my plans, in fact, I really didn't want to go. Early in July, I started researching taking a road trip to the Smoky Mountains. In my mind, we'd drive down, spend a couple nights at a quaint hotel with a pool, hike through the mountains, enjoy a few meals out, and basically relax a little. My kind of fun.
Shortly after I started my research, my husband, Ismael, and I got an invitation to a wedding in New Jersey. Ismael attends the Spanish ministry at our church and the wedding was for the pastor's daughter. I don't know that we would have made the trip for the wedding alone, however, when my daughter Mary, who is 20 and has always wanted to go to New York City, saw the invite, she got excited and said that we should go to NYC also. My husband wanted to go the wedding and Mary wanted to go to New York. They ganged up on me and the Smoky Mountains got voted down, much to my dismay.
I then began the process of researching hotels and mapping out our trip and found that I wasn't having any fun doing so. It's hard to be excited when planning a vacation that isn't on your dream radar and I got a little frustrated. Ismael and Mary didn't lend a hand in the planning, at all. I got to the point where I said "I'm tired, you guys do the planning!" Of course, if I didn't do the planning, we would never have gone. So I went ahead and took care of everything, except what to do in Manhattan once we were there (that I did delegate to Mary).
The road trip turned out fine. The first day we stopped and stayed the night in a hotel in Clarion, Pennsylvania. All four of us had fun swimming in the indoor pool and taking relaxing showers. We dined at the local Applebees and settled into our hotel beds for a good night's sleep. We hit a little turbulence the next morning when we tried to wake Mary and Caleb up early so we could get some breakfast and get back on the road. The waitress at the hotel incorrectly told us that our meal was only 1/2 off, not free (I booked the "free breakfast" package), and I got a little grumpy. It did get straightened out and we silently ate our "free" breakfast. After a couple hours on the road, and after Mary and Caleb slept some more, all was good. That evening Ismael and I attended the wedding and the kids stayed behind with the television and their electronic devices. No worries.
The next morning, we slept in. I wasn't going to wake them an earlier than necessary. There was a NJ Transit bus right by our hotel which took us to Times Square in about 15 minutes. Once we walked out the doors of the bus terminal in Manhattan, we were overwhelmed. It was crazy crowded. Now, as I mentioned earlier, I left the NYC planning to Mary. She hadn't done any planning at home, so I told her to figure it out the evening before while Ismael and I were at the wedding. She did her college homework instead. So, here we were, standing in the middle of Times Square, and not a plan for the day. So we walked and GPS'd places we wanted to see. We made it up to Central Park and back, and after about 4-1/2 hours, Ismael and Caleb were ready to call it a day. I think Mary and I could've gone on, but I didn't want to separate from them. We headed back to the bus terminal, waited 45 minutes for a bus and were safely deposited back at our hotel. Mary did get a good shot of the city from the bus window (pardon Caleb's nose):
That evening, Ismael and I went to a Tapas restaurant in New Jersey that is owned by a guy that Ismael had gone through veterinary school with in Mexico City. The kids had stayed the evening in the hotel again because they did not want to come with. For an hour and a half, we relaxed, ate some excellent food and chatted with Ismael's friend. We did get lost on the way back to the hotel when the GPS on my phone freaked out. The next morning we awoke, somewhat early, and headed back home. Thankfully, the return trip was smooth and pleasant, well, as pleasant as a 15 hour drive across five states can be.
I felt bad after that, as if we traveled all that way to see so little. We spent a lot of time in the car. We did ordinary things like go to a wedding and eat out at a restaurant. We cruised around Manhattan and commented how we liked Chicago better. We drove through the Lincoln Tunnel, or should I say, we drove on a bus through the Lincoln Tunnel. I don't know if I could have driven it myself. And then we came home.
It comes down to this, we try so hard to please the ones we love, and sometimes we feel like we come up short. I only hope my children remember the good. We were adventurous, we had fun, we saw the Big Apple, we walked through Central Park, we sat down at a TGI Fridays restaurant in Manhattan, looked at the highly inflated prices and walked out, we took a lot of pictures, had a few laughs and made some memories.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters."
1 John 3:16