Rainbow Connection

By Kara Richardson Whitely, author of Gorge

I took my three kids and my niece on an adventure from Chicago to Vermont, where my oldest would stay for summer camp. Our au pair Martyna was along with me since my husband was working and so much of this country is new to her.

I planned the trip because I had to get from place to place for speaking events. Most of the time, I travel solo. It’s easier to get from point A to point B without kids in tow. However, all this time on the road would be boring if I didn’t have someone to share it with.

This type of family road trip isn’t for the fainthearted. We would travel more than 2,000 miles — including a stretch of 1,000 miles in three days. However, I knew there would be a lot of stuff to take to heart.

When I was lost on my journey to wellness, I might have only seen the aggravation of traveling with four minors in the car. About how every little complication was a setback.

When I was on this trip, I made sure that I was the person sharing the beautiful experiences, making a point to point out the joy along the way.

We spent nights chasing fireflies at a family farm in Indiana. We bunked up and snuggled in hotel suites. We visited friends and lingered in Lake Erie, getting rocked along the shore. Each stop was awesome.

Still, nothing compared to Niagara Falls.

When we arrived in Niagara Falls, after a short kerfuffle with immigration, it started to rain. The view was hot and hazy for a few moments but just as soon as it started, it stopped. The rain left a thicker layer of mist, giving us rainbows from just about every angle. The kids were overjoyed. So was I.

It’s such a beautiful metaphor: After the rain, the sun comes out and makes rainbows.

Now, I had been there before but I was in a different place then. During my last visit, I was so out of shape that I tripped and fell as I tried to rush ahead. I was huffing and puffing trying to keep up with my family.

This time, feeling strong in my body, I led the way out to see the falls and to explore. The sad thing about Niagara Falls is that it is so built up on both sides (Canadian and U.S.). I mean that you don’t get the same kind of solace that I’ve experienced in the National Parks such as the Grand Canyon.

Still, to be face-to-face with this giant torrent of water is out of this world. It is something that can only be felt, not explained. We had moments by the water —even in the advent of sibling squabbling — that we were able to take in and take with us even when the rainbows faded. 

Follow Kara on Connect @gorgegirl15

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