return to the motherland |

getting in touch with my inner colorado girl


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Turning in my house key

The beauty of living nine hours away from my mom’s house is that I can decide to drive there on a whim. The downside of living nine hours away from my mom’s house is that I can decide to drive there on a whim. I don’t know if you’ve had the extreme pleasure of driving across the entire state of Kansas before, but it can definitely be a mindnumbing experience. My new approach to dealing with Kansas is actually to do it at night, and I found myself leaving Denver at height of rush hour this past Thursday evening. Clearly this was a poor decision, and I found myself rolling into the driveway of my mom’s house at 3:30 a.m. I also probably would have made it there sooner had I not gotten lost in my hometown when I got off of the highway. Yes, this actually happened.

So what brought me to beautiful St. Joseph, Missouri at 3:30 a.m. on Friday? Well, my mom is moving to Virginia this summer, and I had been under the impression that I would have until at least July to come home and clean out my room. This was apparently not the case, and after I learned this I did some serious rearranging of my schedule. It soon became clear that the only weekend that I had even sort of free was this weekend. And since my time was so limited in Missouri, I really didn’t want to waste a whole day driving on Friday. Hence the all-night drive and 3:30 a.m. arrival. I don’t know it made sense to me at the time.

During my nine hour drive from Denver, I had a lot of time to reflect on Missouri and my mom’s move to Virginia. At first blush, this doesn’t seem like an advantageous move for me. I mean my mom is now an airplane flight away, not just a nine hour drive away. But this move actually makes a lot of sense for my family. One of my brothers lives in Virginia, and my niece was just born. My mom is the only member of my family that lives in Missouri. So this move to Virginia is actually a consolidation of my family! Plus my mom and I are already talking big plans for mother/daughter backpacking trips in the Appalachians and kayaking in the St. Jame’s river.

The end of an era

While I’m excited for my family’s relocation to Virginia, it’s still kind of weird to be saying good-bye to Missouri. It’s not good-bye to Missouri forever, but it is good-bye to spending holidays and trips to visit my family in Missouri. I turned in my Missouri house key to my mom, and I now have no house key to anywhere other than my house in Denver. It definitely feels like the end of an era.

Missouri house.

Missouri yard.

Missouri cat.

I have a lot of college friends that live in Kansas City, and I know I’ll be visiting there in the future plenty of times. However, I don’t know when I’ll be back in St. Joseph. And even if I do visit St. Joseph, it won’t be the same. I spent the past few days just trying to get out and enjoy everything wonderful about Missouri.

Show Me State Love

I don’t think Missouri is any less beautiful than Colorado. Truly. Mountains happen to be my cup of tea, but there is something to be said for leafy trees and rolling plains.

Excited for Missouri trail running.

Running the trails at Krug Park in St. Joseph, MO. Gorgeous!

Waterfall at Krug Park.

Nothing like a Missouri sunset.

Missouri (and Colorado) girl.

Sunset walk at Mark Youngdahl in St. Joseph, MO.

The “trail” at Missouri Western State University, where my high school XC team practiced.

Monster hill loops from high school XC. I ran one, they’re still no fun.

It looks like this trip was all play and no work, but I assure you I also did some serious cleaning out of my room. I ended up throwing away four full garbage bags of stuff, giving away four boxes to Goodwill, and packing two boxes to take back to Denver and four boxes for my mom to take to Virginia. This was for sure a necessary trip. While I was sorting through my entire life from the past 15 years, I started thinking about the truly important things in life. You know, just one of those days. Was I really having a hard time throwing away pieces of paper and notes from high school or was I thinking more about the relationships they represented? It was the relationships. Possessions and places don’t have any meaning without the people who make them special. I’m losing my mom’s house in Missouri, but I’m not losing the friends who have made it a special place. I’ll always have a home in Missouri. Although let’s hope I’m not ever going to be driving across Kansas at 2:00 a.m. again.

I might not have a house in Missouri anymore, but I have people there who will always make it a home for me.


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Like mother, like daughter

My mom and I are very different people in a lot of ways.  If there was not a Sephora in the JCPenney in the mall in my hometown in Missouri, I don’t think my mom could even tell you what Sephora sold.  Still, while my mom and I are probably never going to bond over sparkly eye shadow, we definitely share a love for the outdoors.

I spent Labor Day weekend in Missouri, primarily because one of my best friends from high school was getting married.  As a bonus, I was excited to be in Kansas City over Labor Day weekend so that I did not have to run an 18 miler alone.  I tagged along with a small group of the people that I will be running the Chicago Marathon with in October, and we basically ran around the entire downtown area.

Water break at Liberty Memorial

In addition to running around Kansas City and attending a wedding, I also made sure to fit in some quality time with my mom.  I told her that I wanted to do something fun and outdoors, possibly canoeing or kayaking.  My idea of fun is spending all day outside, which is what my mom’s idea of fun is too.  Of course my mom knew the perfect place to go kayaking thanks to an event earlier in the summer with the Kansas City Adventure Club.  Yes, my mom is a member of the Kansas City Adventure Club, and I only wish I lived in Kansas City so I too could be a member.  We really are so alike in some ways it’s scary.

Watch out for this lady on the water.

Like mother, like daughter.

The weather was absolutely perfect, and my mom and I had a blast kayaking around the lake for a few hours.  After kayaking the day was still young, so naturally we decided to go for a 4.5 mile hike on some nearby mountain bike trails.  I can’t gush about the perfect weather enough.  At one point, my mom even said, “This is why I live in this part of the country – for days like this.”

Butterfly on the hike, photo courtesy of my mom.

After our hike, my mom and I were starving and ready for lunch.  We wanted to find a cutesy restaurant fit for a 75 year old woman in the old downtown part of Shawnee/Shawnee Mission, Kansas, which was near the lake we kayaked.  However neither of us are familiar with the area and we quickly became lost in suburbia.  Luckily, my iPhone came to the rescue, and we found a local restaurant with 99 beers on tap.  Jackpot!  I had a Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, which was delicious.  Fall seasonal beers are some of my favorites.

Overall I am a pretty lucky girl to have a mom that shares the same hobbies.  I have lots of friends that I can discuss sparkly eye shadow with – I’ll take a mom that will go kayaking, hiking and beer drinking with me any day!