Saying Yes to Adventure
I'm currently out in Southern California. A place that's so near and dear to my heart. Jenny's hanging out with some amazing women at the Nine Retreat in Venice Beach, which leaves me with our 3 kiddos for a few days. It's been a mix of ups and downs for sure, and there are plenty of moments where I could've easily said, let's call it a day and go back to my buddy's house where we're staying, but instead I chose to say yes to adventure (one of our family values). Here's the full story...
We woke the kids up at 5 am on Sunday morning to get to the airport on time for our flight. Waking the kids up is not ever a good idea, but when we don't have a choice, you just have to make the best of it, right? Anyway, so, our kids are super tired and have been waking up super early here because their little bodies don't understand the time zone change from Kansas City to California. Basically, what i'm getting at is tired kids out of their normal routine usually spells disaster.
So we've been here for a few days, kids still aren't adjusted because that will happen the day before we go back home and then we'll have to deal with them readjusting back...but that's another story for another time. This story is about saying yes to adventure on a Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles.
But before I get to that, I have to share something. I was born in Anaheim and lived here until I was 10 years old. Most of my dad's siblings live out here. I have some friends that I've known since I was 4 that I've kept in touch with, so it's always a blast to catch up with all of them. I should add my grandma is the sweetest lady. She just turned 90 and her smile will warm anyone's soul. She doesn't see her great grandkids as often as I'd like, because, well, we live so far away, so when we make it out here, I try and spend as much time with her as possible.
Which brings me to Tuesday afternoon. Lia woke up at 5:30 am, and we were set to go visit Grandma and Grandpa after we ate lunch. We showed up and did the hugs, everyone was super excited, and then I noticed Lia kind of do that thing where she starts to escalate and get mad. I have no idea what triggered this episode, but I knew it was going to make our visit a little more difficult. She ended up having one of the worst meltdowns I've ever seen. At one point she was locked in their bathroom punching the wall. It was a combination of exhaustion, excitement, Max antagonizing her and being in a new situation where maybe she wasn't feeling super comfortable...I really don't know. I do know that I kept my patience and did my best to try and get her to do her breathing with me, but once she passes the point of no return, we all just have to kind of wait it out and let her calm down on her own. So, most of the visit was spent with Ava making grandma balloon animals and playing games of war with them, learning the same magic tricks and hearing the same jokes...you got to love old people.
Lia finally calmed down, and we left, and I was quite embarrassed about how she acted. I was so upset because I don't see my grandma very much and I definitely didn't want to spend the time dealing with an angry/violent child. At this point, I was ready to call it quits and head home. Just throw in the towel and call it a day. I had wanted to take the kids to Griffith Observatory and explore that area as we've never been and I've heard such good things.
I found myself sitting in my buddy's truck outside of my grandparents place. The kids buckled in the back. Lia on the verge of another meltdown for something. And I wept. I just want to have a good time. I just want to go wander around and experience the world through my kids. I want to show them the most amazing things. I want to be out in nature with them. I want to watch them light up at new experiences. And I found myself wanting to throw in the towel as well. I just want all the best things for them...
So, I put in the address for my buddy's house in the GPS and started driving the way home. As I was driving, the tears stopped and I took a few deep breaths and realized I have the opportunity here to say yes to adventure. I have the chance to push forward in hopes of a new and amazing experience despite how the rest of the day had gone. So, that's what we did. We went to Target, grabbed a few more snacks and then fought traffic for an hour and a half to get up north to Hollywood. The kids picked IHOP for dinner, not my first choice, and probably my last choice, but whatever, I was going with it. Then we fought more traffic for 45 minutes to go like 5 miles to Griffith Park. At this point the sun was getting lower and lower and I realized I had the opportunity to experience a sunset with my kids, seemingly on top of the world looking over downtown Los Angeles.
We ran through the Observatory as fast as possible, I was ok with it, knowing we'll be back with Jenny one day. And then we made it to the top and just sat on the ledge, together, enjoying one of the most amazing things we'll see every day... a sunset.
On the way back to the car, we all decided we weren't ready to leave yet, so we laid in the grass and looked up at the sky. We wrestled and laughed and tickled and laughed some more. We found adventure, and it was glorious. We left a letter of encouragement for someone. It was just a great night. Well, until Ava threw Max down as they're playing tackle, and Max's head hit Lia's mouth. Then there was blood and some screaming and lots of apologies as it was an accident. I cleaned that up then we stopped for ice cream on the way home, because ice cream makes everything better.
Reflecting on our day this morning, I realized how having family values like 'say yes to adventure,' 'be present,' 'value experiences over things,' and 'always end on a good note' really shape the decisions Jenny + I make. There were so many signs of this ending badly. Lia's fit. The kids exhaustion. Dealing with traffic. But I made the decision to press on anyway. To say yes to whatever adventures we might find and if you ask the kids now, they'll all say yesterday was a pretty awesome day for us to be alive and together. We got to spend time with my grandparents, we got to eat at IHOP (exciting for them), we got to watch a sunset together, we held part of an asteroid (so heavy!), we got to be together with no agenda. It was one of those nights where we kept saying yes, and even though not everything worked out exactly as we'd of liked it to, we just kept saying yes, and we have some pretty darn good memories to show for it.
The whole point of this post is to hopefully remind you to come up with some family values. Put some language to the kinds of things you want your family to stand for. And then live those values out, intentionally, passionately. We all want amazing memories and experiences for ourselves and our kids. And each and every family has a different way of doing things. Find what works for you and fight for those things every single day.