It would be the first time my mom and I would take a long distance trip together. For me it would be the first time traveling by air, for my mom the first time in a water park. Though the purpose of our two-week trip was visiting our family at my grandparents’ 50th anniversary, the memorable part of the trip was the first few days. It was a trip full of adventure for both of us. It was one of those occasions that endures long after, something that one would look back and experience a wave of nostalgia. I was young and naÃ¯ve about travel and fascination lingered at every corner.
The first stop was a stay with my mother’s long-time friend, Julie, residing in Minneapolis. The flight was like nothing I have ever experienced. I had a window seat, a choice for which I am forever grateful. My gaze rarely strayed from the tiny square of Plexiglas, my forehead leaving marks from my intent look. Lush green patches of field passed beneath our Skywest airplane, replacing the gray urban buildings and miniature tree-lined streets of Denver. I felt so tiny, seeing our world from so far. Finally, entering the land of 10,000 lakes, we landed in a foreign state.
That first night found us staying with Julie, resting up for the action-packed day that would hit us in the morning. We barely had enough time to soak everything in! Morning rose and with it, a new day for new experiences. We started at Body World, a traveling museum based on scientific cadavers. Both a humbling and eye-opening experience, the museum provided a visual journey of the human body, everything from the muscles to a sobering cadaver of a pregnant woman. The day brightened as we stepped outside into the July Minnesota morning and continued on to the iconic Mall of America. One day is definitely not enough to begin to explore the boundless mall, which is truly larger than life! Finishing our shopping, a new mall opportunity arose: a roller coaster. All the levels of the mall wrapped around this miniature theme park, which included a small roller coaster, perfect for a novice like myself. I laughed and screamed with delight, even closing my eyes on the scarier parts, praying no one would notice my cowardice. Oh, but the fun didn’t end there!
Our night ended at the Radisson Hotel, which houses the largest indoor water park. One could see the tubular slides wrap around the building before reentering below. My tame mom overcame her fears that night, even riding the high slides, screaming all the way. It was a memory that still fills me with pride. She truly went outside her normal boundaries and tried something she had never even thought to do. Just that moment itself made the whole trip memorable. A bonus was her enjoying every minute of it!
Though the trip later saw us happily visiting my grandparents for their 50th wedding anniversary in Rice Lake, Wisconsin and the exciting Lumberjack Competitions in Hayward, the most powerful memories lingered in the adventures of those first few days of our trip. It was right before my freshman year of high school, four years that would see me grow immensely: falling in love and experiencing heartbreak, having both blessed high points and bleak low points. For that one summer, though, I was free to be young, to experience new adventures and to see my mom’s courage for those two short weeks. For that, I would trade absolutely nothing.
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