In January, I started writing about my Top 10 memories from 2013. So naturally my #5 memory is one that has to do with my #1 Auntie.
I think it was the summer I turned 12. I'm almost positive that was the year I had my first Yosemite camping experience. My family...I mean my Dad...doesn't really camp. And when I say camp, I mean tents-sleeping-bags-thin-air-mattresses-1-shower-a-week kinda camping. The only kind of camping there is, really.
So growing up we were deprived of this privilege. I have no idea what bet my Dad lost to end up sleeping in a tent for a week, but I'm so glad he did! Somehow, Aunt Na got our family to commit to camping with her in beautiful Yosemite...and that summer literally started the best tradition our family has.
Our camping group has grown over the years...extended family, grandparents, friends-who-are-like-family, high school friends, college roomies...now that we kids are grown up, we bring our spouses & kids....anyone is welcome, you just can't complain about the dirt. Or the tents. Or the bugs. Or the no make-up or showers for a week.
Going to Yosemite is always a highlight of my year. Especially now that I get to take Steve. The first couple years, he wasn't really into it. Then he learned how to relax & now he loves it! And we've been taking Claire since she was 5 weeks old. Just this morning on the way to school, she was asking how long until we get to go...& I love that she still calls it "Yo-Somebody."
After asking how many days til we get to go, she said, "Maybe we shouldn't go this year until Aunt Na gets all better. She loves to go rock climbing & she might not feel good enough to do that yet."
Yep. She said it. What we've all probably been thinking, but don't really want to say out loud. Yo-Somebody wouldn't be the same without Aunt Na. She's the most fun to bike with, hike with, cook burgers with, night bike ride with, raft down the river with, play games at night with. She knows all the best hikes, wild-life areas, cool shortcuts, best fly-fishing spots. She's the one we all fight to spend time with. She's the one who makes it a point to spend time with each of us, teaching us, laughing with us, snuggling with us, laughing with us, jumping off bridges into the freezing river with, LAUGHING with us. She's seriously the best.
Yes, we may still go to Yosemite this year. And yes, we'll still have fun. We'll still bike, hike, swim, sleep-in, read, make foil dinners, fish, sleep in tents, not shower, & explore. And hopefully Aunt Na will get to go, too. Because it wouldn't be the same without her. She's the one who made that part of our lives what it is today. She's made it so important for our family to have our thing we do every year. She's been the one to go the extra mile & find ways to make it extra special & make everyone feel like sleeping on the ground is the best thing ever.
There are still so many unknowns when it comes to Aunt Na's future. We're praying hard for a full recovery. But that just might not be a part of God's Plan for her life. Yosemite might not be the same kind of trip it's been for the last 23 years. And so I'm holding on to these memories with all my heart....