The Great American Family Road Trip [2017]: Day 10

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“It’s going to be uncomfortable.”

My husband’s pre-road trip words were more than a warning – they were an imminent truth.

And by Day 10, hand, foot, and mouth disease had led to collective sleepless malaise. We were also running out of clean clothes.

But our daughter gave us the best reason to hold on and not grow weary.

It was her second birthday.

In this poignant way, our road trip was a homecoming of sorts.

You see, back in 2012, my husband and I took two days to explore the mountains of Colorado during our cross-country move to California.

It was during one particular hike that life shifted and suddenly we felt the freedom to dream about children. The graduate school hangover had waned.

And – right there above the trees – we pondered a future child’s name: Aspen.

As it turns out, our little tree would come second. But our family began in the thick of that Aspen grove.

Reality, of course, has its own path. Most of Day 10 would be spent on the road with a sick two-year-old.

But, early in the day’s travels, a sign cut the fog in our eyes: Capulin Volcano National Monument.

We didn’t remember seeing it when we plotted our National Parks journey, but we couldn’t resist a unique birthday adventure.

For as cheesy as it sounds, holding our febrile daughter and peering into an ancient volcano brought an indescribable sense of calm.

Life will erupt. You will survive. And your daughter will, too.

Indeed, somehow we made it across New Mexico and into our Dallas hotel by 11 p.m.

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One Year Ago: Date Night, within Reach

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