GH and I returned from Utah early Tuesday morning. We hit the sack at 2:00am and I woke up sick the next morning. This is the third time I've been sick in six months. The Third Time. I'm over it. But enough about that, let's talk about vacation.
Before heading down to Utah's Dixie, I was delighted to spend an entire day with my sister in Salt Lake City. (She opted out of the trip this year, since her first daughter, my new niece!, is due to arrive any moment now.) Lucky for me, pedicures and alfresco lunch at Red Iguana was the perfect way to ease into vacation.
The remainder of the trip was spent cavorting about Zion National Park, whose beauty simply cannot be captured by a little lens; adopting my cousin's adorable baby for a photo shoot; meeting my new six-week-old nephew; embracing family ritual and cooking outdoors. Our food assignment this year was a dessert, which we hadn't really planned on. At the last minute I decided to make sticky toffee pudding. In a dutch oven. I had never made it before and was a little nervous. No, a lot nervous. But the results were dolled out and devoured before I even had time to take a photo. Which, of course, thrilled me to no end.
The gathering was small this year. We missed our family patriarch and matriarch, and Colleen's warm hugs and sticky buns (addictive caramel breakfast rolls). Oddly enough, our hotel room even smelled like grandma and grandpa (Listerine and toast), which didn't bother me one bit. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard. We made it a point to visit grandma in the nursing home before we celebrated Easter. We then visited grandpa's plot at the cemetery. I took GH by the house of my childhood, reliving all the memories made in my grandparent's kitchen. I walked through the empty house and flipped through the photo album. I wanted to hold on to all of it. Every memory and part of my formative, adolescent and adult years. I longed for one more party, but knew the house had changed. Even though I know I'm an exception — few people have the luxury of knowing and associating with benevolent grandparents for the better part of three decades — I can't help wishing it would stay the same. At the same time though, I felt those absent and the associated missing, was simply another reminder that carrying on tradition is both a beautiful and necessary part of loss.