Chapter 12: Sweet Dreams

It was now the winter of my first year with Samuel. He had adjusted so well to life with me in Denver. He had a small cadre of friends he’d made during his first week of school. He, like many of the other kids, was unfazed by the dramatically shifting political climate. I was not so fortunate. I put on my best game face for Samuel, but there were some days where I felt like climbing back into bed after I put him on the bus.

I’ve heard that planning a vacation provides you with the lion’s share of the pleasure of that vacation. Ah, anticipation is a wonderful thing. I had therefore booked a ski vacation for me and Samuel. It was a short drive from Denver to Loveland Ski Area, and the name had practically done the sales job for me. I thought we could all use a little love in our land. Lodging was not too far away and sounded like just the right amount of “rustic.” The mountain also offered lessons for his age group.

So it was that we found ourselves driving West on I-70 on a Friday afternoon shortly after he was dismissed from school. It was just an hour drive to our accommodations, but the busy Colorado ski traffic had us getting there shortly after 5:30. We pulled into the bed and breakfast’s small driveway and carried our bags onto the expansive porch. The porch was littered with all of the signs of ski town life: skis, snowboards, a pair of snowshoes and plenty of seating for hanging out. I carefully opened the door and ushered Samuel into the foyer. The proprietor, a grizzled but gentle man, introduced himself as Jake. He’d owned the place for 15 years, having fallen in love with the mountains many years ago. His smile seemed to foretell the fun I’d have with my son in the coming days.

We headed up a narrow staircase to our cozy room. There was a small twin bed for Samuel and a very comfortable queen-sized bed for me. The room was wonderfully outfitted with ski town kitsch that made me instantly feel right at home. We bid good night to Jake, who had finished walking us through the features and quirks of the room and adjoining bathroom. Samuel and I both agreed that we were quite hungry after our drive, so we dove straight into the grocery bags I’d brought.

Our carpet picnic was incredibly delicious. The right amount of cheese, crackers, sausage and sliced peppers complemented some homemade hummus I’d made a few days prior. I was happy that Samuel had quickly adapted to my whole-foods approach to eating. He sipped his lemon-flavored San Pellegrino (his infrequent indulgence) happily as I nursed a glass of Pinot Noir. He was content. I was content. We were in a fabulous room just miles away from new outdoor experience for us. We wrapped up our carpet picnic as our stomachs told us that we were sated. I brushed my teeth alongside Samuel, said our prayers together, and tucked him into the twin bed.

As I sat reading by the soft light beside my bed, I couldn’t help but smile. My life before this one began its decline on a ski slope when Chandler had his accident. At the bottom of that decline, it was so dark as I struggled to find my way. Slowly, yet steadily, I’d climbed out of that darkness and found a far brighter, happier place. On my own, but not alone. The irony was not lost on me: the end of one story and the beginning of another both had a wintry slope as the backdrop.

Tomorrow was going to be a fabulous day. I knew it in my heart. “Sweet dreams,” I said aloud. Sweet dreams, indeed.

This story is last of a series I’m writing as part of a commitment to sketch each day of 2016. My #365daydraw project yields an image each month, by popular choice, to serve as inspiration for each chapter.
Read more about my #365daydraw challenge