“But maybe every life looked wonderful if all you saw was the photo albums.”
― Liane Moriarty, What Alice Forgot

So when I was choosing a photograph to go with this quote, I thought I would post a picture of a time when my family clearly wasn’t having such a great time just to show that photo albums can be tricky. I wrongly assumed that this would be easy. I know my life and my family aren’t perfect so I began looking through my photos for one taken on one of our less than stellar days. The problem I ran into was that all the bad memories aren’t really that bad any more. While those days weren’t always fun at the time, they often provide the best memories to look back upon in the future.

Here’s an example… My four daughters and I spent one very long, cold, miserable spring break touring college campuses in the northeast. The girls fought incessantly, there was a mouse living in our car, hurtful things were said all around, BUT to this day it remains one of our favorite times to relive when we are together.

Here’s an account of some of the spring break trip highlights written by my oldest daughter.

                                Spring break 2011    By: Marissa Forte
-Yale: Marissa and Bethy started screaming at each other in the middle of the quad with students milling around them. After leaving Mommy and Alaina to the tour, Sophie, Bethy and Marissa tried to find their way to the bookstore. Bethany suggested going down some random road (obviously she was wrong) and Marissa said that we needed to go back in the direction that we came. This escalated quickly until both girls were screaming insults at each other and fighting over Sophie. Bethany yelled to Marissa, “YOU ARE AN IDIOT. I AM SMARTER THAN YOU,” and then was wrong about the directions.

-Brown: Fortunately no fights broke out here but Sophie probably woke the entire campus with her constant whimpering and crying about her gas pains. She walked from the bookstore to the car (keep in mind that as per usual, we couldn’t remember where we parked so it took a while to get to the car) keeled over, clutching her stomach and crying about her gas pains. This also caused Sophie to walk at a glacial pace. As soon as we got to the car and she popped a Gas-X, Sophie retreated back to her normal state of whininess.

-Princeton: During the info session, Marissa got bored and started poking Sophie because she was in need of a little entertainment and knew Sophie would be a quick and easy target. This little game started out fun as it always does but by the end of the session Sophie had become very irritable and was ready to pop at any moment. As we were all leaving the auditorium and getting ready for the tour, Marissa nudged Sophie again sending her into a fit of rage. Sophie began slapping and kicking Marissa as hard as she could while Marissa just laughed hysterically. Sophie was slap-happy for about two minutes but during that time, was able to get the attention of everyone in the info session.

-Coast Guard: Bethany and Mommy had a meeting with one of the people at CGA and left Marissa, Alaina and Sophie in the lobby to wait until they were done. Everyone was tired from the never ending road trip and just wanted some down time. The three of them were sitting on the couches when Alaina started humming “Lean on Me.” No one said anything for about a minute and then Marissa spoke up and asked Alaina to stop. Alaina said to just let her finish the song and then she would stop. However, the song never stopped and Alaina continued humming the exact same tune. Marissa became angry and tried many tactics including threats, physical violence, insults and begging but nothing worked. Marissa retreated to the furthest corner of the lobby hoping to escape the humming but no matter where she went, “Lean on Me,” was still clearly audible. She even laid face down on one of the main couches, holding her hands to her ears causing a student to ask her if she was okay. Finally, Mommy and Bethy came out of their meeting and Marissa hoped that if she told them about the humming, Alaina would stop. Unsurprisingly, Mommy just laughed and we were forced to continue with our tour.

Good times!

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