Mom and Woodfield Mall

Three days ago a thought came across my head. You oftentimes hear how people say to those who have lost family members that those family members are watching down on them. This is usually said when people are going through rough times. After a month or so of my performance at work being less than usual, this current pay period has been one of my best! When things are going right in life, we tend to be filled with a certain spirit. This vigorous feeling fills you with an immeasurable amount of happiness. When you are in this state of mind, it seems almost impossible for things to go wrong in life. For more information on this, look up the law of attraction.

That day while at work I was just rocking it out. Because I had been using my time wisely, I had a little extra time to spend on my last break. Just like I used to do while working at Home Depot, I went out to my car to jam out some tunes. Music is my life; it is the gateway to my soul. My already great day felt even better! Then I walked back to my desk. Just before walking through the building entrance, the thought hit me.

Could you imagine Mom and Dad seeing me where I am and what I am doing?

To help you understand the gravity of this unbelievably deep thought, let’s think back to where I came from. I do know that in 1971 they went to the Caribbean on a cruise for their honeymoon. That must have been a one-off. Other than our trips to Missouri / Arkansas, I have no recollection of Mom and Dad really going anywhere outside the metropolitan Chicago area. In fact, except for visiting family members, they rarely ventured far outside the city limits.

We as people have the ability to idolize things that either we do not have or that may be out of our reach. It can be easy to put these things up on a pedestal. Mom always talked about wanting to go to Woodfield Mall. Even though she talked about it often enough, for some reason she never went there. Using good ol’ Google Maps I was able to see that Woodfield Mall was exactly 20 miles away from our old house. More than 75% of that drive was a straight shot on the Kennedy Expressway. If she talked about going so often, what held her back from going? After looking it up on Wikipedia, I learned that it opened during her first year of marriage. That just added to the mystery.

Not long after Mom’s passing Laura started taking me to Woodfield Mall. It seems like such a small feat, driving 20 miles. Yesterday I traveled 28.5 miles to the Hieroglyphic Canyon Trailhead in Gold Canyon, AZ. It was not like I had to have this massive plan to make it happen. I had been there many times before, and it’s a no-brainer to want to return sometime soon. Ideally, you don’t want to go on the weekend when the weather is beautiful; too many people can ruin your little escape into the wilderness.

It’s almost like I don’t put that trail on much of a pedestal at all. Most of the reason is its relatively short distance from home compared to some of the places I go to here in Arizona. Let’s just break this one down. It is a short drive to the edge of the Valley of the Sun. Although there is not much elevation gain, there is enough to get a pretty view of the East Valley and the mountains surrounding the Valley. When you get to the edge of the main part of the trail, you pass through rich, Sonoran Desert landscape, to a slightly wooded area, and end in a paradise on Earth.

This paradise begins when you hear the waterfalls. Keep in mind water does not flow during the driest months. Then you can see a huge wall of petroglyphs. If you ever wanted to know more about why petroglyphs, read up about desert varnish. While sitting in the bottom of the canyon, listening to the flowing water, and being treated to sights of the East Valley not too far away, you cannot help but be full of peace and serenity. If you cannot take this this hike yourself, here are some pictures from my first time there.

This is just one of the magnificent places that I have available just in my own proverbial backyard! Within a few hours of home lie an immeasurable collection of treasures. I could not imagine my life anywhere else. Back while living in Chicago I would have never been able to imagine even the casual trips I now make.

Would if Mom and Dad were to come back to life? Could you imagine if they were to be able to be with me here in Arizona? Their minds would be blown!

All parents wish to enrich their children’s lives with the blessings that they already have and the blessings that they could never have. Ultimately, your children’s lives should be better than yours. I fear that I might cut down their lives, but at the same time what I have to say fulfills their dreams. Even at the age of 36 it seems as if my life has far eclipsed many of the accomplishments of my parents.

I get to live exactly where I want to be. Available technology and my earnings from work allow me to make the 1,700 mile trip back home from time-to-time. I get to go on these adventures pretty much whenever I feel like it. The blessings from my job are mind-boggling. The monetary and intrinsic rewards are so great that it is hard to fully process at times; it seems as if it is just part of the fairy tale. I have met some truly incredible people here. Some of those people have introduced me to a relatively revolutionary way of thinking and being. For all of this I am grateful.

There is just no way Mom and Dad could have imagined all of this happening in my life. To think that I am just 36 and have so much more ahead of me,I cannot imagine what events / blessings are in store for me.

Even if you are going through rough times, please never discount your future. You never know what opportunities you have lying ahead of you. Call me a sucker for “crazy” self-help theories all you want. Since I have personally lived it and proved this concept true, I will just leave it up to you to create your own testimonial.

Mom and Dad, thank you for making those sacrifices to get me to where I am now. Thank you for doing all the hard work, not taking any of the glory for yourselves, and giving it all to me to enjoy!