We ended the Northern California part of our journey in the best possible way: water skiing on Lake Tahoe.
Davey grew up skiing on the lake, and 21 years ago he taught me to ski there. Now it was time for the kidlets to learn.
Although the boys gave a valiant effort, and loved rocking the wetsuits, it was The Girl who was the most determined to make it happen.
And I loved watching her determination.
The persistence, the strong will, the absolute refusal to quit.
It isn’t an easy skill to learn, and it isn’t an easy place to learn, either. The water is so cold, and that feeling of floating there in the enormous lake, shivering, as the boat circles around to once again pass you the rope is not exactly a fun feeling.
But I knew by the look in her eyes that she would not quit.
And then finally the time came. She was ready.
Her sweet little voice yelled out, “Hit it!”
Davey took off, and she popped up. For two whole seconds, she was skiing.
We all cheered and yelled.
I was so proud of her and happy for her. Not because it was the best ski run ever, and not because I have visions of her being a professional water athlete.
But because she saw what it was like to stick it out, even when it isn’t exactly fun anymore, and have it pay off.
She saw that grit and guts are very, very good things to have. It’s a lesson I hope she never forgets.
As we went back to get her, all three of her brothers were smiling and happy for her, and as we reviewed the highlights of the day, watching their sister get up definitely made the cut.
I love this more than they will ever know.
All of our time wasn’t spent on the water. We also visited the Bay Area and Sacramento, taking in all of the sights. Sea Lions, Cable Cars, Boats, and Bridges filled our days.
Throughout this Northern California time we ate great food, drank great coffee, and reconnected with more friends and family. We also met up with wonderful people who had been in our youth group years ago, and got in quality time with two girls who think nothing of spending hours talking with the kidlets and their stuffed animals.
All in all, it was awesome.
We are three weeks into the journey. 3900 miles, 65 hours in the car.
And now we head east.
See you soon.
In this first week of our journey, I sure have learned a lot from the two youngest kids. We call them The Littles. Now, I know that 4th and 5th graders aren’t normally considered little, but in this family, they are. The older two are The Boys and the younger two are The Littles. That’s just how it is.
We spent three wonderful days camping in Flagstaff, AZ. Those days were full of dirt, relaxing, campfires, and outdoor living. You know, all of the things that make life just a little bit better.
One of the days that we were there we went and explored the Grand Canyon. It was beautiful and incredible and breathtaking and all of the adjectives you would expect when you go and see one of the Natural Wonders of the World. We stood and looked and pondered the wonder of it all and our insignificance and our significance and all of the Thoughts You Think at the Grand Canyon.
Well, all of us except Jar. Jar was more interested in the people. As we walked through the parking lot, he read all of the license plates. He wondered about the families, where they came from, and where they were going. He listened to the accents he heard, watched the different customs taking place, and wanted to know more about the lives of the people he saw. He was fascinated by everyone around us, noticing the little things that we all ignored.
As we pushed past the people to stare and watch and think, he saw the people and wanted to know their story.
I want to be more like my son.
When the camping was over, we came back down to the Greater Phoenix Area. The Girl had some softball to play and we had some cheering to do.
This is The Girl’s first year playing fast pitch softball. She played baseball for five years before this and knows the fundamentals, but this was her first time with the bows and the cheers and all the softballness. She loved it. She is still a bit confused about the bow, but she loves softball.
Her team went undefeated for the regular season, and the pitcher was incredible. I’m talking several no-hitters, way beyond the rest of the league incredible. Strike after strike after strike. It sure was impressive.
The Girl plays 3rd base and shortstop, and I never got tired of watching her out there. Every single pitch of every single inning, she was ready. She would hop into position, glove down, eager to make a play. Now, 19 times out of 20 there was no play to be made, but she didn’t care. She was ready.
She received no attention, no glory, and most of the time there was no external reward for her actions. But that didn’t stop her. Every pitch, every inning, every game. Doing her job to the best of her abilities, no matter what.
I want to be more like my daughter.
So now we are off again, ready to see what we see and learn what we learn. Oh, and also enjoy the company of our kids, who are pretty awesome people.
See you much later, Arizona.
Nevada, Oregon, and Washington… we’re coming for ya.
See you soon.
Today is a big day for me – I have published my first book! Sure, I have written several books as a ghostwriter, but I am no longer a ghost. My first book, Taking a Road Trip With Your Family… And Still Liking Them by the End of It is now available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble!
You want to hear something crazy? The first time I ever told David my dream of one day becoming an author was, you guessed it, on a road trip. I remember it so clearly. We were in the Central Valley of California, south of Fresno but north of Bakersfield. The idea had been floating around in my brain for a few weeks, but I was reluctant to mention it.
See, I knew that once I told David I wanted to do it, I would have to follow through. David is a very laid back guy and isn’t one to nag, but he also has a subtle way of encouraging me to finish what I start. He is supportive without being cheesy, and has mastered the art of combining sarcasm and sincerity. It’s pretty much awesome.
So I finally found the courage, and told him my goal. Being the talkative guy that he is, he responded, “Great. Do it.”
And now it’s done. And now we celebrate.
Once the book was submitted I went straight to the kitchen and opened the fridge. I knew they would be there, and they were: Two cans of Coke.
We have a tradition where we commemorate excellent happenings with a Celebratory Coke. Graduated college? Celebratory Coke. Got a new job? Celebratory Coke. Bought our first house? Celebratory Coke. Having a baby? Caffeine Free Celebratory Coke. So, of course, publishing a book most definitely resulted in a Celebratory Coke!
I am almost done with my 30 days of focusing on things excellent or praiseworthy! I can’t believe how fast these days have gone by, and I have learned so much. I could actually write an entire blog post about what I have learned during this time. And I will… tomorrow. Today I will drink my Coke.
See you tomorrow! – Oh, and check out the book here!