Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Spring Break cometh (and goeth) too soon

For some reason, our Spring Break comes earlier than everyone else's. Maybe it's because people here are more worried about catching good snow than catching good waves. In any case, Spring Break came quickly on the heels of the Lubbock trip.

I decided to take a trip to Salt Lake City with my kids. The youth at church were planning a trip there at the end of Spring Break, to go to the open house of the new temple in Draper, Utah. Daughter very much wanted to go, so I thought it a good opportunity to go back to SLC and do all the things we missed last year when we went.

However, Son is rather belligerent about all things spiritual right now. I think it's his brand of rebellion. He'll go, after much trouble and arguing, put for a hour, then he leaves in a good mood. Rinse and repeat, one week later. He also had to take the SAT that week, so he took the excuse to not go with Daughter and I.

Well, he's actually belligerent about all things. Period. He's developed a nasty disposition that seems to revolve around either (a) pissing someone off deliberately, or (b) manipulating someone into taking him somewhere to eat. It's wearing, really. Each day, I have to find a way to not get pissed about something offensive he's pulling. I think it's a control thing with him. If he can make you mad, then he's exacted some kind of control. It's making me nuts, though.

Ranger was a little sad that I'd be gone again so soon, and for so many days. But he know the importance of my relationship with my kids, so he hands over the GPS and kisses me good-bye, and waits for updates.

Daughter and I had a plan, of sorts. We'd go early on a Tuesday. Sight-see until her friends arrived on Friday, when we'd all go to the open house. We'd drive back with the caravan of giggly gal-pals on Saturday. And a good time would be had by all.

We cruised online travel sites for a deal on a snazzy hotel, near the sights in downtown Salt Lake City. The place we stayed last year had gone up. No deals to be had and I'm not paying $219 a night! Finally, we found the Radisson, which is about a block from Gateway Mall in one direction and Temple Square in the other. Perfect. I just had to make sure they had hot cocoa via room service, so we'd be sufficiently spoiled. Double perfect.

So, off we went, early on a Tuesday morning, bee-bopping down the highway with the tunes playing and singing at the top of our lungs.

Son barely raised a brow to say bye to us. I'd double-checked with him the day before. "Are you sure you don't want to go?" He sneered and said no. I stayed awake a good bit of the night worrying about him. He's started to see a therapist, but I don't know if it helps. It's too early to tell.

We made our first stop in Wellington, Utah. It's a cute little town, with over-zealous cops who interpret speed limits very strictly. We went into the big truck stop to use the facilities, get fresh drinks and snacks, and call Ranger to let him know our progress.

"Why does he want to know that?" Daughter asked.

"Because he wants to make sure 'his girls' are safe," I said.

She smiled big. "I like that," she said.

We saw lots of snow, but none on the roads. Daughter started getting excited as we hit the freeway at Spanish Fork and headed north to SLC. The GPS guided us straight to the door of our hotel.

I love this GPS thing. I like to pre-load our favorites destinations, so they're easy to call up when needed. My list included:

* Our hotel.
* Our favorite Mayan restaurant. The one with the cliff divers.
* Hard Rock Cafe.
* Squatter's microbrewery (they brew their own root beer and have a killer artichoke dip!).
* Heritage Park.
* The address of our meeting place on Friday, to see Daughter's friends.
* The nearest Wal-Mart.

We checked out the cushy room, stretched out on the cushy beds, perused the menu, and decided to go shopping at Gateway Mall. It was a cool, clear day, so the walk was lovely. I'd forgotten that the crosswalks in SLC all have a big "LOOK" painted in front of them, with eyes for O's and arrows pointing both ways. I don't know why that's so amusing to me!

Gateway Mall is a long outdoor mall, with a water feature with the SLC Olympic symbol on it that plays to music every few minutes. We watched that and cruised the shops. Pretty quickly, my daughter spotted her ideal souvenier shop - Build-a-Bear Workshop.

Now, we've been in Build-a-Bear wannabe shops, but never a "real" one. We went in and she zeroed in on a soft bunny to make. As she worked on it, I picked out a scruffy dog for Ranger. It kinda reminded me of him. I was going to make a "rock hound" for him. I sent Daughter off to find an outfit for her bunny.

I heard a squeal and looked up to see Daughter's delighted face as she rushed to me.

"Look!" she said. She held up a little outfit on a hanger. Only in SLC. It was a Mormon Missionary outfit.

Here's the finished product:

Elder Bunny.

He had a busy week. We now have a whole series of pics of him in front of SLC sights, having dinner at the Lion House, working out at the hotel gym, and taking a nap. She posted them online so her friends could keep up with her activities that week.

It was a glorious week. Daughter discovered a new favorite treat. Creme Brulee. Each night, just before bedtime, we ordered up creme brulee and cocoa. Wow.

And we talked. Oh, did we talk. About boys and why she is glad I won't let her date until she's 16. About school. About family. About her brother. About Ranger. About me marrying Ranger and having a house of our own. About being a unique personality. About being a "woman of quality." About how excited she is to take Seminary as a class in high school. About music. About how much being a mom means to me. About how we prayed for her to come to us, when it wasn't supposed to be possible. About the day she was born. About what I wish for her and Son. About everything.

We went to the cliff diver restaurant. They'd changed the menu and her chile-pepper pasta was gone. It was still fun, even if it kinda skewed the experience to eat a hamburger among the Mayan "ruins."

And one night we got all geared up for the Hard Rock Cafe and headed find it dark. The sign was gone. No Hard Rock in SLC anymore. Dangit. So, we went to Squatter's. Their root beer is wonderful.

After spending Friday afternoon and evening with her friends, Daughter asked if we could just drive back on our own Saturday. Just us. No caravan of gal-pals. One last day of just the two of us, before we went back to normal life.

Who could resist that?

So, we took our time leaving SLC. One more look at Temple Square. One more lunch at the Garden Restaurant, high atop what used to be the Hotel Utah, a beautiful view of Temple Square from our table.

Then, home again. Bee-bopping down the highway with the tunes playing.


Ronjazz said...

Good quality time well-spent. I haven't a vacation in so long; I'm quite envious.

Angella Lister said...

Sounds like you had a very special mother-daughter week, and a very special daughter. Thank God for daughters! Mine also helps me lower the temperature with my son (by talking me through stuff like a little adult). Sons, apparently, are supposed to fight with their mothers and oppose everything they say; I read in this developmental book that it's part of their process of "individuation" and becoming a man. My son, age 17, and I were like this, especially leading up the the college app process this year. Miraculously, as soon as he got into his first college, all the fight dissipated. It was as if, escape route now in view, he could afford to relax and be gracious with his mother. It's as if these last couple of months we've been consciously reconciling all the anger and upsets of the previous four years. It sounds as if you're a year behind us, in that you're just starting the college process. Hang tight. I suspect there's a healing on the way.

Blogget Jones said...

Ron: You need a vacation! In Colorado? LOL

Angella: Thank you for your very kind, encouraging words. I hope things start looking up with Son. Right now, Daughter is afraid of him and sticking close to me. I'm exhausted.