What might have been…

(That line always makes me start singing… except I don’t know all the words. I suggest you listen to the song on the link while reading this post. Doesn’t quite match up, but it makes it more emotional.)

Pioneer Day is a big holiday in Utah. It was yesterday, July 24th. Here are some really awesome things that we didn’t do that were technically possible, even though some require a bit of travel.

This is The Place Heritage Park -ok, technically we did that earlier this year.

LDS Church history museum – this is a remarkably done museum – that we didn’t go to.

The Castle Valley Pageant – I would love to do this sometime!

Provo Pioneer Village – we haven’t been there in awhile.

Spanish Fork Pioneer Cemetery – THIS was actually on my list!

Cove Fort – did this earlier this year also.

We didn’t look up any pioneer ancestry, although yes, indeed we have plenty! We didn’t visit any Daughters of Utah Pioneer Museums, and off the very top of my head I can think of three. We didn’t sing pioneer songs or play pioneer games.

You know, there is even a hike in Salt Lake City I was tempted to do around pioneer day for it’s early Utah and Mormon pioneer significance. But we didn’t do it.

We didn’t even go to the rodeo, carnival, kids carnival, fireworks, quilt and car shows, and all the other stuff non-pioneer related they had going on. But I really wasn’t interested in any of that stuff so it doesn’t bother me as much.

Well, I would kind of like to go to the rodeo some day.

What I wanted to do, but didn’t work things out in time, was to have all of us pick a pioneer ancestor and learn one story about that person we could share with someone else. I wanted to wake up in the morning and head down to the grand parade with homemade gingerbread and fresh squeezed lemonade in hand (pioneer holiday treats!) and enjoy the time with my family, loving our little city and state and heritage. I wanted to go visit that cute little pioneer cemetery and read the names and wonder about the people that came here so long ago to start a better life. I wanted to – not on the same day – hike up Ensign Peak in Salt Lake Cityband stare off at the valley and wonder what it looked like before there was a single building down there. And be grateful for all the hard work the pioneers put in, going before us, sacrificing, and laying the groundwork so that life would be easier for everyone who came after them. Then we could finish out the day with a picnic just in our back yard. And of course fireworks with the neighbors when it got dark. That sounds like a perfect Pioneer Day(s) celebration (because the hike has to be on a separate day, of course.)

Here is what we actually did. Do not expect anything impressive.

We participated in the Children’s parade. It was only eight tenths of a mile, all downhill, very nice! When is a hike not a hike? When it is a parade! Then we had to head back to the car parked UP the hill. Only a 6 tenths of a mile, but uphill, and less fun because now we were all hot. Then it wasn’t a parade anymore. We cheerfully called it a “walk.” And THEN, at the van, I realized I left my purse with the keys and cell phone back down the hill in the huge mass of people at the end of the parade route. ugh. Another six tenths of a mile worried about what to do if we can’t find it, if it is stollen, how we will get home, and who is going to watch the baby still sleeping in his crib when my baby sitters have to leave in 20 minutes! At this point, my kids were calling it a “hike.” (What? I thought they liked hiking?)

My husband found us right down by the parade route. He had the purse and all my stuff. It’s a long story that isn’t relevant… I guess none of the above story was relevant.

Moving on…

We went to the Grand Parade. It was hot. My baby threw up. My toddler cried the entire time because he wasn’t quick enough to get any of the candy thrown out by the floats. I didn’t bring any lemonade or gingerbread because even though I thought about it ALL the day before, I forgot to make them. Then as we started back home afterwards my kindergartner collapsed on the grass and wailed that his leg hurt and he couldn’t move. With a baby on my back and a toddler in the stroller, two older kids carrying camp chairs, I just looked at him – and all the other parade goers passing by looking at me – and thought, next year I am not doing this. (Thankfully my very kind neighbors were right there and drove us all home, because yes, I made my kids walk from our house to the parade route. We’re hikers, right?)

Then, all at home, we were hot and tired and some of us were still crying. Naps. Movies. Half-eaten lunches. I did indeed make lots of gingerbread, but the lemonade was just powdered Country Time with a few lemon slices thrown in. I was doing my best to keep people from not screaming in each other’s faces and it was not working very well. Have you ever had those days? It gets to the point where I don’t know what to do except hand them a book or some legos and put them all in separate rooms with the punishment for leaving those rooms being death… or cleaning the bathroom. My other neighbor even invited us over to swim in her pool. But after thinking about it more, I couldn’t imagine trying to round up all the kids and get them over there without someone blowing up. It was a survival day.

At 3:00 I ordered all the kids to do the chores we didn’t do in the morning because we went to the parade. You know, do something productive. Then my friend came over and we chatted for an hour or so while my kids avoided doing their chores. (Not that I’m upset my friend came over. That was awesome!)

Anyway, you can kind of get the picture. Things didn’t get better.

*sigh.* Oh, what might have been.

If only Pioneer Day was in the spring! Or the fall! Or if every July 24th would promise to be only 70 degrees instead of 100. And all the stars would align just right and no one would cry or throw up or disobey.

(deep breath.)

The good news is July 24th comes again and again and again. I have many more years to do ALL of the things I really want to do to celebrate and learn about and revere those noble and humble pioneer settlers. And truthfully, we’ve had some pretty awesome Pioneer Days in the past. One bad day doesn’t define my life, or my family, or my homeschool. So, here is another song for you which better captures my mood at the moment… when all the kids are in bed… the sun is going down so it’s only 80 degree outside… and there is gingerbread and lemonade calling my name! Yum!


Here’s to next year!