I’m lying in a van, my two year old asleep next to me, the door open, looking up at the darkening sky in the middle of the magnificent canyons of Utah, USA.
The trees are dark silhouettes and the sky is an ever changing ombré as the daylight disappears. There are lights shining in the camper across from us, the smell of campfires drifts past and the air is crisp and cool. Everyone is settling in for the night before another day in the heat and dust begins tomorrow.
It’s hard to describe the heat, or even imagine it now that the air is cool. But it’s hot here. It’s so hot that water doesn’t quench your thirst, and the dust permeates everything, by the end of the day your eyes are red and raw and your skin is coated. But it wouldn’t be as magnificent if it wasn’t so intense.
We have stared in awe at the shapes and colours that make up Bryce Canyon, descended into the depths of it and zig-zagged our way back out again. We have caught our breath at the absolute scale of Zion National Park, we are nothing when we stand in those canyons, and we are on top of the world when we climb to the top. We have sweated and sweated and sweated. And each night we have driven our little home back to the campsite and cooked a simple dinner and settled in for the night.
With a toddler.
Honestly, I lie here now and I can’t even believe we are here, that we have actually been able to do this.
But we are, we have been free and I am trying to use it to heal. To enter the next year a little less afraid, and a little bit happier.
Mr O has made us so incredibly proud, he has adapted to daily change like an absolute super star and he has trusted us that everything will be okay. He has slept in so many different beds, and woken up in so many new places, surrounded by strange faces and voices, and he has taken our hands and walked into it with us. I won’t lie, there have been tantrums and meltdowns and screaming, but we understand it. We don’t feel comfortable all the time either, so his world must feel upside down right now (like seriously, we are on the other side of the world?!?).
Tonight, as we ready ourselves for the final few days of our trip I want to stop and remember this moment. So that next year I can stay home. And be in our home during the hardest month of the year. We have been free, we can be, but I know that it’s for me, and not for him.
Two birthdays, two completely contrasting towering mountainous terrains.
Here’s to his third birthday party being at home (someone remind me next year when I start trying to run away again please…).