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We spent five days in Western Washington.  Three in Clallum/Neah Bay, one in Sequim and one in Auburn (with time for travel).  We had high expectations – Mom, Larry and Xavier were spending a day on a charter for halibut, ling cod and, hopefully sea bass while Rob and I clammed on the beach.  We were going to leave the area with our vehicles packed with seafood, mushrooms and other foraged goods.  Mom and I had talked about making it for a year on what we got on this trip.

Nature had other plans.  The ocean was choppy on Thursday so the fishing was rough.  They each got little halibut and no other fish.  Rob and I discovered that clams were not prevalent on the shores of the northern coast and it hadn’t rained in two weeks so no mushrooms.  We were crushed, heartbroken.  We had failed.  Nature had beaten us again.

We were exhausted and achy from so much hard work and nothing to show for it.  I popped Christian Kane into the cd player and this song played.  I wanted to cry because it was the theme of our trip – Something had to give but I didn’t know how to make it different.

The trip was not the success we expected because we had put too many expectations on the trip.  I tried to be thankful but each night I went to bed so exhausted I didn’t take time to reflect with my gratitude journal.  I tried to see the positive.  I caught limpets but they all died before I could get them home.  We ended up losing most of our hard-earned clams because we didn’t leave enough time to tend to them.  We were too tired to enjoy the beautiful forest we spent the night in.  We barely had time to care about marshmallows.  The whole trip was rushed, even though we though we gave ourselves time.  Time is wasted when you are trying to recapture what you think you are owed.

As I drove through downtown Sequim, I realized that I had never actually seen the community.  We did see a bit of Clallum Bay but I didn’t take the time to window shop and I never did find which coffee shop had the lavender mochas that I saw advertised as we zoomed by on Wednesday night.  I failed because I forgot I was on vacation.

We didn’t really take time to spend time as a family.  It was all whip cracking and a push to have something to show for all our hard work.  Who vacations like that?  And when did we become these people?  We used to schedule in walks through the communities we visited.  We used to got to goofy little museums and eat salt water taffy on the shore.

It was funny.  Our group was divided into two vehicles and towards the end we stopped and realized that the same conversation was happening in both vehicles.  We desperately wanted to be real tourists.  We wanted to find the community’s largest ball of twine and those silly tourist traps that we have become to serious to enjoy.

Next year, we’re going to skip the charters and the hunts for the elusive jackpot and remember to enjoy the life we have been given.  I am disappointed but mostly because I failed to embrace the time off I had been given.  I gazed upon the beauty of this world and thought only of how it could serve me instead of how it touched my soul.

I didn’t take the time to reconnect with my family.  Do you know how hard it is to spend five days in a car with a 15 year old boy when all you care about is how much he’s not contributing?  It’s not a proud mama moment but thankfully the summer is just beginning and I still have time to get him out in a tent with no tv and no facebook.  I might actually have a conversation with him.  Then again, maybe not.