College Tours and Spinning

I can almost pinpoint exactly where my life started going wrong, not counting the bad decisions I made in high school.  I was going to go to college at Ft. Lewis in Durango, Colorado.  It was all set up and I even had a roommate.  It would have been my first experience leaving home and I chickened out.  There was some other stuff going on, but ultimately it was my fault.  I met some loser and decided I couldn’t live without that guy and gave up my dream of leaving the state and starting a new life (until later).  At the time I let fear hold me back.  Fear of what?  Fear of being away from home, fear of success, ultimately fear of being alone, which is funny because I’ve never felt so alone as I do right now.

A couple of months ago, my friend was asking Sunshine where she wants to go to college and she said NYU is her dream.  I said she can’t wait to get away from me.  Then Sunshine said she would like to go somewhere in the mountains.  I had never heard her say that before and I immediately thought of Ft. Lewis.  It sits on top of a plateau in the middle of the mountains and you really can’t get a prettier campus.   And we couldn’t have picked a prettier day.

Now, I am not one of those people who live vicariously through my children, my sister might say something different.  I had never even mentioned that college or my dream of going there.  Sunshine is very head strong and I can’t even mention I like a shirt too much or it goes back on the rack, so I certainly wasn’t going to go on and on about Ft. Lewis like I wanted to.  I knew I had to play it cool.  Like, Oh, I think there’s a good college in Durango and Durango’s in the mountains. You know, use really short sentences. 

I went online and requested a packet of information be sent to her.  Then I saw they were giving tours during the week of fall break, but she had rehearsal so we couldn’t go then.  I e-mailed and they were doing a special weekend tour that Saturday so I signed us up.  Then I casually mentioned that they were giving a tour for some other people and it would be fun to go down and just look around.  Take a family trip, which we never get to do and go hiking and just look around the town.  They had a discount through a Best Western and I packed food so we did it for a pretty reasonable price.  We left on Friday after her rehearsal and got there at like midnight. It was our first trip with Molly, who didn’t pee until 3:00 PM on Saturday, which you don’t really need to know about. 

If you haven’t been to Durango, Colorado, what are you waiting for?  The leaves were turning and the weather was perfect, not too cold.  There wasn’t any snow yet except on the mountain passes we had to go over to get there.  It’s in a little valley, but the college is above the town on a plateau. Beautiful. 

Do you see the town down below?

And the tour guide was awesome until she jokingly insulted “theater people”.  As in, “you know theater people.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”  She talked about all the stuff there was to do for “outdoors people” and also there was a lot for people who weren’t.  I told Sunshine that they had a lot of stuff to do for people who didn’t normally do a lot of outdoors stuff and she said, But I want to be an outdoors person. 

The tour ended and we went back to the room to get Moonshine, Tenderheart, and Molly so they could see the campus and then we went downtown and hiking.   We walked around downtown and then found a hiking path that was near our hotel. 
We hiked by the river until the sun went behind the mountain and it started getting cold.  I went spinning through the falling leaves when I turned around and some D-bag was making fun of my spinning.  I won’t say I hope he dies in a fiery crash, but you can.  And it  didn’t stop me from spinning as the leaves fell on my head.  It was a scene from a movie, just beautiful. 

After our hike we went back to the room and the girls and I played cards and told stories and laughed.  Every hand of cards I went around and asked them a new question.  Your favorite song, favorite movie, favorite book, favorite memory.  And to be honest, that was my favorite memory.  Just all of us there having fun.  No one fighting.  So whether she goes to Ft. Lewis or not, that weekend will be remembered as one of the best trips we’ve ever taken.



  1. ahhh fun! My oldest graduates this year also. We haven’t been on any campus tours. I’m sorta in denial.

    • Sunshine is actually just a Junior, but I still have a ton of anxiety. Is your daughter excited about graduating?

  2. Cari Kelley

    Quality family time. That is special…you are right to cherish it! Sounds like a great trip!

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