Road Trip Bucket List

For the first time, Spring Break is two weeks long and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Come August, my oldest, Addy, is off to college and my youngest, Amy, will be leaving for her year abroad in France. To take advantage of this first, and perhaps last, two weeks that the three of us have off together, we have planned Addy’s Epic Senior Year Road Trip -12 days through Utah, Arizona, out to the Pacific, up to the Sequoias, Death Valley, Vegas, and Bryce Canyon in Utah.

I spent six entire days planning this 12-day road trip. I did the majority of the work back in December when I had some time off work – pouring over maps, googling and reading about possible cool places that we absolutely had to see, determining which campgrounds along our route would be open in March and whether it’d be warm enough to sleep in the tent at which elevations.

A couple of nights ago, Addy said to me, “Mom, I’m writing a bucket list for our trip.”

“Well, don’t get too carried away,” I said, thinking of the typical bucket list, a list of places to see and experience, “because the trip is pretty much planned out.”

“Oh, mom,” she replied, waving her hand in front of my face, behind which sits my concrete, sequential, very much inside-the-box type of brain. “I’m not talking about that kind of bucket list.”

The next day, while I was at work and she was at school, trying desperately to stick it out and finish her classes so that she can graduate, she texted me this.

SENIOR TRIP BUCKET LIST
1. fall in love with (at least) something: person, place, sunset, food
2. be completely present
3. try something new/out of the comfort zone every day
4. do nice things with/for my family
5. be patient with my family
6. LAUGH – all the time and make others laugh
7. be a kid
8. conversate with strangers
9. photograph Amy
10. photograph my mom
11. photograph everything
12. write
13. get lost

Addy's Bucket List

As always, I was blown away with her unconventional way of thinking. I’m sure she had written it during class and that she wasn’t paying attention and that she wasn’t concerned with her grades, which she needed to be. But at this moment it didn’t matter. At this moment she was sharing something so beautiful, something that made me choke up and have to hold back the tears threatening to spill from my lower lids.

At the end of my work day, Friday, the last day of teaching before a two-week long respite from schedules and planning and worrying about whether I could get all of my students proficient in all subjects before the end of the school year, I grabbed my phone (with the texted bucket list) and went to look for my BFF colleagues, the ones I would share something like this with, the ones who know my daughter, know what she’s been through and about her ups and down her senior year, the ones who understand what a free spirit she is and would appreciate what she had written.

Together we stood there, in my classroom, on a Friday after school, the Friday before Spring Break, while I read her bucket list aloud. And together we cried.

We cried for everything the each of us has been through, all the trials and tribulations our children and families have had, what we know to be true and important, the bare basics of what we hope for for our children, that they learn to love and appreciate the people and moments in their lives.

I had errands to run after school, things I needed to get before we left on our trip. But I stopped at home first, to find Addy and tell her what a beautiful soul she was, inside and out.

“Mom, why are you saying this?” She looked at me, dumbfounded.

“Your bucket list, Addy. It was incredible. It made me cry. I shared it with my teacher friends and we were all standing around bawling.”

“Bucket list? Oh. Yeah.”

I didn’t sense that she had forgotten about it, necessarily, just that it was ordinary to her, nothing special. Just her typical thinking. And it was.

I reviewed each item, separately, and thought about them.

Yep, yep, yep, each one was something that I do, almost daily. Maybe they weren’t so extraordinary. But they did need to be written down. To be shared. And to be consciously thought about – not only on our trip, but every day, always.

Thank you, Addy.

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Billybuc
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 08:02:10

    I haven’t had a vacation in three years. I hope your road trip is a success and you have loads of fun.

    Reply

  2. betunada
    Mar 24, 2014 @ 14:34:12

    whoo(a), doodette: seriously: poignant. ‘heavy.’ impact. and addy will do most that list! (watch out!)

    Reply

  3. warburk2013
    Mar 26, 2014 @ 13:05:43

    Great list, what an inspiration. Have a great trip!

    Reply

  4. dgillaspia
    Mar 28, 2014 @ 17:27:26

    Great post. Looks like your route has been planned out for a while but just in case you find yourself with a little extra time you should check out this list I put together of 40 places to see in the western US. I’d highly recommend a quick stop to the Valley of Fire if that is at all possible with your schedule!

    I hope your trip runs smoothly! 🙂

    Here’s the list: http://nationalparksandmore.com/2014/03/18/40-places-to-see-in-the-western-united-states-that-will-blow-your-mind/

    Reply

    • randee
      Mar 28, 2014 @ 22:30:15

      Hey, thanks for the list! I’ll keep it in mind as I travel in the future. Also, in a few days we’ll be driving from Vegas to Bryce Canyon, Utah and going right past Valley of Fire. So… it’s a MAYBE if we have time. Thanks, again!

      Reply

      • randee
        Apr 01, 2014 @ 10:19:03

        We made it to Valley of Fire and WOW what a great addition to our trip. It is an incredible place (as are most in the desert southwest) and I totally understand why you made a point to recommend it. We spent a good five hours there, hiking, taking pictures, and enjoying their gorgeous visitors center. I will forever recommend this one to friends. Thank you, again!

  5. sf
    Apr 30, 2014 @ 09:05:54

    What an awesome senior trip bucket list! I like how the last one is “Get Lost”. Haha! Bet it was a super-duper trip!

    Reply

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