We almost didn't go this year.
We had so many things "to do" and so many reasons not to go. My daughter and I were on our first annual daddy/daughter camping trip in the Adirondacks when I made the mistake:
Leaving to head home I drove past Whiteface Lodge, the place we have been going on a family vacation for the past few years. I secretly wanted to stop by and see it, I really did, but I wasn't going to. But Ashley spoke ... "Dad, can we see Whiteface?" It didn't take any convincing on her part really. I had the car headed that way before she even finished her sentence. I don't know what we were going for, I just knew I wanted - she wanted - to go.
When we pulled into the driveway, I missed it already. Before I parked the car, I missed it. When we walked up the little entranceway decked out in the stereotypical adirondack lodge feel, I missed it more. When I opened the heavy door to let Ashley go inside, I missed it even more. And before I even made it past the antler chandelier in the lobby I knew it wasn't going to end well. I found myself at the front desk and asking if they had any availability - in 2 weeks - before Ashley even knew I wasn't following her anymore. She had already made it up the small set of stairs to the sit on the couches.
We walked outside and walked to our car in the rain and I looked back and thought, see you in 2 weeks. A quick phone call to my wife solidified that real fast. It didn't take her any convincing. We had a 2 week window in August where the family had nothing going on - a first in probably 6 months. I took full advantage of it.
2 weeks later we were on the road on a beautiful Sunday morning to spend the next 5 days at one of the places I love the most on the east coast. And to think, we almost didn't go this year.