For the first time since 2011, my family is getting ready to leave for a quick trip away from home for the Labor Day weekend.  With my work schedule, I haven’t had consecutive days off since … oh, let me see … Thanksgiving Day and the day after of last year.

Sunset over the Mud Lake desert on my last trip to my hometown in 2012. (Photo by John G. Miller)
Sunset over the Mud Lake desert on my last trip to my hometown in 2012. (Photo by John G. Miller)

I don’t really have weekends, which makes it tougher to get away aside from the usual reasons why I haven’t gone on a trip in a few years — lack of money, lack of dependable vehicles.  This weekend’s trip is on more of a “need-to” basis.

The last time I got to see my mother face-to-face was in January 2012.  That was a solo trip, made in the earlier months of a lengthy stint of being unemployed.  Even then, I rented a car and used money that had been set aside for retirement to pay for the journey, but it was worth it to get some positive feelings out of the visit.

My wife and my two youngest children haven’t seen her since going up to my hometown in Salmon, Idaho, for my mom’s 80th birthday in December 2010.  My oldest son hasn’t seen her since the year before that, around six years.

That’s too damn long.  It’s not that she isn’t cared about.  It’s not that a drive that takes maybe six or seven hours counting a lunch break from our home in the Salt Lake valley of Utah is too long.  It all comes down to money and a work schedule that hasn’t allowed much of any such thing.

It’s no wonder my mom can look at more recent pictures of our children and not recognize them.  The possible onset of dementia doesn’t help either.

Dancing with Mom on her 80th birthday celebration in 2010.
Dancing to “The Tennessee Waltz” with Mom during her 80th birthday celebration in 2010.

Mom’s health isn’t the greatest.  She’s showing the signs of congestive heart failure.  It’s time we pay her a visit.  A couple of days over a three-day weekend won’t seem like enough, but it’s the best we can do.

What scares me is wondering when we’d be able to see her again after that.  If it’s taken this long and the times just seem to get tougher … scary.

It shouldn’t be this way.  People shouldn’t work their butts off and have such a hard time finding the means to make a trip to see people they love.  It seems ridiculous in this day and age.  It sounds more like a statement families would make in the days when horses pulled covered wagons and a similar trip would take weeks one-way.

There’s something to ponder on this Labor Day weekend.

You may not see me back here until Tuesday.  Enjoy your weekend!

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