My Story In Photos: Places I Love

My husband and I have been on vacation to several beautiful, lovely, romantic places together, but because of our never-ending basement remodel (which is never-ending not because of the contractor, but because of the work we are trying to do on it ourselves) I cannot find any of the photos from any of those trips we went on.  They are all packed away safe and sound.

So, for “My Story In Photos” post I am going to go back to last summer when our family visited northern Michigan for the first time.  I posted about some of our adventures in July right after we returned home, but I never did share this little tidbit…mainly because Bill and I could have been nominated for the “Dumbest Parents of the Year” award if anyone had ever known about it.

One day of our vacation, we took the kids out for a day of fun at a small adventure park where we enjoyed a completely wonderful day together.  On our way back to our cottage, we passed The Dune Climb of Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes and made the first of many mistakes that day: 

We thought “What the heck, let’s stop and see what this is all about.”

DisasterDay10 And right away made our next mistake:

“The hill looks steep, but at least it’s not that far.  We’ll be able to see the lake on the other side and the kids will love that.”


And on the heels of that mistake came a third one:

“Oh the sand feels nice” I said.  “I don’t think we’ll even need our shoes on for this.”
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We finally got to the top of that hill and what did we see on the other side?  Another hill that was even steeper than the first hill.
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By this time, Wyatt (whom we discovered was part mountain goat that day) was really far ahead of us.  I turned to Bill and told him to hurry after Wyatt and that I’d catch up with him at the top of the hill and then we could all go down to the lake together.
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I was stuck behind with Mr. Weston who had decided that climbing sand dunes wasn’t quite as fun as he thought it’d be.  Especially since the higher you climb in the sand dunes, the hotter the sand gets which doesn’t feel so good on bare feet.

About ten minutes later we caught up to Bill who had decided to wait for us and I noticed two problems immediately:

1) The lake was not on the other side of that hill either.  The lake was still really, really far away.

and

2) He was minus two children that were supposed to be with him.

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Where are the boys? my eyes silently screamed at him.

“Oh, I let them go ahead a little bit” he replied.

What?!  I am the mom who doesn’t even let her kids ride their bikes on our deserted country road by themselves and yet now two of my children have “gone on ahead” in this vast deserted land?

Trying to push my panic down, I pretty much say those exact words to Bill and we started trying to walk even faster to catch up to the boys.

But, no matter how far or how fast we walked…all we saw was this view:

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My mommy safety genes are screeching in concern by this point.

And Bill’s somewhat-delayed daddy safety genes were in full-blown panic mode at this point as well.

Since Weston and Weslea were beyond exhausted, Bill decided to take off on his own since he could make much faster time without us and I decided to head back a little bit to where I had seen a second trail turn off in another direction because we still weren’t even sure which way the boys had gone.


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Some hikers finally came along and they said that they had seen two boys on that trail (the trail that Bill was not on, of course) and then I went into a full-blown panic attack.

Do I chase down Bill to let him know that he is searching for the boys on the wrong trail?

Or do I take the exhausted Weslea and Weston down the correct trail and begin searching for the boys myself?

We ended up going down the second trail to begin searching for the boys…me an my two kiddos, all of whom had blistered, aching feet and a good mile to go until we even made it to the lake.

The kids entertained themselves for a bit, but soon it was clear that there was no way we were going to make it all the way to the lake.

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It would be difficult for me to put into words what I was feeling right then.  Exhaustion, hopelessness beyond what I had ever felt before in my life, complete panic

We were in an incredibly beautiful part of the world…and it was one of the most horrible couple of hours of my entire life.

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I finally found a small spot of shade for us to rest in and decided that I had no choice but to wait there for awhile.  I continued to question every hiker that passed us (some of whom I had talked to earlier on the other trail) and they all continued to assure this teary-eyed, somewhat hysterical mama that “I just saw your two boys and they are getting ready to start down this trail soon” or “I saw two boys and it looked like there was a man with them” or “I think the dad is with them now and they are heading this way…you should just wait here, they should be here soon.”


And I just continued to pass time by wiping my tears away and praying like I had never prayed before.

After another hour or so had passed, I finally saw one of the one the most beautiful sights of my entire life…

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Way far down the trail I could see three familiar heads bobbing along as they slowly made their way towards us…

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When we were all finally reunited, I got to experience one of those moments as a parent when you aren’t sure whether you want to beat your children or hug the snot out of them.

I did for sure decide to hold the old guilt card over them…. “You boys worried your mommy so much that you made her cry!” I made sure to tell them before we turned around to make the long trek back to where our nightmare had all began.

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They acted appropriately sorry and ashamed and exhausted for approximately thirty minutes.  Right until we began the steep downhill descent back to our vehicle.  And then the pull of running down that hill brought back their natural, childish glee…

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Which brought great joy to my stressed out heart.

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It was amazing to me how such a few hours of terror could change into a feeling of complete thanksgiving and joy just by seeing their little faces and knowing that all was right with my world again.

And such thankfulness that my two boys had been taken care of and were safe despite all of the terrible things that could have happened that day.

If we ever return there again sometime, I will be sure to read websites like this one first so that I hopefully won’t even come close to earning the “Dumbest Parent Of The Year” award again.

Although Bill and I both definitely earned that title on that day.

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