Trips South and Past

Paul and I returned the other day from a mini-trip to southern Arizona. We live in central Arizona — in the middle of a huge valley a mile high, surrounded by the Bradshaw and Mingus Mountain ranges.  We live in a planned community, a development that is less than ten years old at the edge of Prescott Valley. When we moved here almost six years ago from Ohio, we most certainly moved to cowboy country.  The open valley behind us is largely untouched by humans, and we hope it remains that way.  Some cattle and horses lazily meander the meadows. Of course, ten years ago, our development was part of that natural setting. Our development is named Quailwood Meadows, a very appropriate name.

It is not uncommon to see quail and their families scooting across streets or yards in some parts of this valley, although they don’t ramble around our cul-de-sac.  And the blond meadows with low, swaying grasses and shrubs, rolling toward the mountains do look like scenes from western movies.  I love looking out my kitchen, bed room, or sun room windows at this sight and imagine that John Wayne, Roy Rogers, or Jimmy Stewart will be riding into my vision at any moment.

I have visited the Grand Canyon  (2 1/2 hours north of our home) five times since we moved west, and my husband, Paul, has traveled up there with friends even more times.  Sedona, with its red rocks and beautiful shops, is about 45 minutes away. This is one of our favorite get-aways. We usually travel over the Mingus Mountains, winding higher and higher until we enter Jerome, the old mining town now an artists’ haven and tourist high spot, and then on into Sedona.  I love Prescott too, the territorial capital and first state capital. It is dubbed “Everyone’s home town,” and is home of the world’s oldest rodeo, held during the 4th of July week every year.

When we travel, we fly in and out of Phoenix, 1 1/2 hours south of us, and I have a cousin in the area, so we’ve done some exploring there. However, we had never driven south of Phoenix until last week end.

Along with my cousin, Sherrie, we drove to Tucson and stayed at a southwestern styled resort for two nights and three days. Each day we explored one attraction, so we paced our energy well. On Saturday, we explored Old Tucson Studios where many old and new westerns have been filmed. On Sunday, we visited San Xavier Mission, founded in 1692! Wow! On Monday, we explored Kartchner Caverns, walking down into the sauna-like caves, gawking at God’s amazing underground sculptures.  With good food and good rest, the trip refreshed us and expanded our Arizona experience.

Today, I’m also taking some trips into the past. I see that my last post was on February 15, which is our older daughter’s birthday. Thirty one years ago, this lovely lady turned me into a mom. She now lives in the Chicago area, and has cultivated a good life there.  I remember her at every stage of growing up — such a tiny, 5 pound baby, features so perfectly sculpted; a delicate 3-5 year old with such gazelle-like fluid movements.  I think of her wonder and fascination with learning.  Her questions, her willingness to try new things.  As a mother, you know I could go on and on.

Then six years later, on this very day (although it was February 29, not March 1), another lovely creature entered our lives, further changing us. While our first girl has dark hair and eyes, this new cherub was born with vanilla peach fuzz and deep blue eyes which have stayed a lovely blue. We labored for about 30 hours, and then she came via caesarean near noon on Leap Year Day. We were all exhausted when it was over, but she was strong and healthy at 8 pounds, eleven ounces.  I remember her at every stage of growing up too — a creamy cherub, hungry, happy, and active –a head-turning beauty.  I love to remember her patting me on my back when I held her many nights, rocking her to sleep.  She became a vibrant, vivacious, audacious, chattering 3-5 year old with her imaginary friends and room-filling laughter. As a mother, you know I could go on and on.

So today, with lovely orchestral music in the background, I’m writing this in my living room while I’m witnessing the sun setting over the Bradshaws, sending a warm glow over the valley. My mind has been many places. Today, my baby turned 25 years  old. I miss her and her big sister. Trips to the south and trips to the past — all such memories encourage and comfort me. I thank my God upon every remembrance….

Categories: Parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Trips South and Past

  1. Anonymous

    thanks for your memories. love, cousin susan

    • kltolsen

      Thank you, cousin Susan, for all the sweet memories I have of you and your family. I love your gracious laughter.

  2. Ricky

    It was lovely to take this sweet journey through your memories with you. I felt your heart..

    • kltolsen

      Thanks for enjoying my post. Glad to share my journey with you!

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