Lessons from the Little Ones

The first hour or two of a long road trip is really just your mind scanning to see what you forgot. The car potty. Not the car potty. The good thing about road-tripping during a pandemic is that peeing on the side of the road feels mostly acceptable. 

Van patrol set off to Sacramento, CA, Crater Lake, OR, Hood River, OR and then our final destination, Orcas Island, WA. It sounds easy typing it out, but hours of patience, sight-seeing, please don’t touch that, podcasts, snacks, canoe rides and cabin stays all dotted our map up north. 

One of the most unexpected memories of our trip was seeing what my daughters chose to love and enjoy along the way. 

At Crater Lake National Park, the girls were so excited about playing in the snow, I wondered if they even noticed the bucket list view. At the pottery shop on Orcas Island, they found a tree-house of their dreams. At the best fish and chips in town they skipped their lunch to fill shell buckets with rocks and chase the chickens. 

At first I felt a little annoyed – we came all this way and you just want to play in the snow?! This is the reason we came here.  The illusion of control is alluring. It draws me in over and over again. Like a wiley temptress, my pretend friend. 

But then it happened to me.

Driving home from dinner to catch the sunset one night on Orcas, a golden, warm glow lit up certain parts of the dense, thick forest, the way light from the sun streams into your home and forms spotlights on the walls. The way it feels to see love shine on the face of a beloved. It was breathtaking. 

What if instead of only looking at the sunset, we see what’s being illuminated by the light. What if we look up, or across the street, or around the corner?

As usual, I’m not sure who’s the teacher and who’s the student between my kids and I. 

How wonderful (and challenging to the ego) getting to know my girls, and witnessing who and what they want to become. Seeing how they want to experience their world from an unfiltered perspective, uninterested in what they should be enjoying. 

We asked Maisley her favorite part of the trip – four days on the road and seven days on a magical island – and she said watching a show in the car.

Fine by me!

In Quarantine

Ryan sweeps the side yard every evening before dinner.
We watch Shrek for the first time.
We watch Shrek 10 more times.
Coura asks to get tozy (cozy). 
The girls make mud soup for lunch.
Ryan and I fight about him telling me too much of the news.
Ryan and I fight about spending all this time together and not feeling connected.
We make up quicker than usual.
I am obsessed with trees; touching them, learning about them, talking to them. 
Coura learns how to scooter.
Sammie goes on walks.
I bake homemade sourdough bread, feeling mad at first about having to try something new, and then reinvigorated in my love for baking.
We watch Tiger King.
I have dreams that the Tiger King is after me.
The bed of Freddy (the F150) is the girls’ favorite place to be.
I am a laundry machine.

Ryan inquires about my 3pm pajama wearing.
When I say “I trust you” to God and myself, I can feel it to be true deep in my body.
I go in the mud pit, too.
I feel oddly at peace with a slower lifestyle. 
Ryan comes home from the grocery store and I ask him if they had eggs and milk in stock.
Small rocks are painted like hamburgers and sandals at our neighbor’s house.
I dance to classic rock bbq on pandora most mornings (and sometimes end up punching the bed and crying into a pillow by the end).
We watch church in our pajamas on the couch with a candle lit.  
We watch a movie every afternoon.
Ryan is a master chef in the kitchen, with a dish towel over his shoulder and reggae music playing.
We misplace our minds and find them buried outside in the dirt with Coura’s 25 missing pacifiers.
Maisley sneaks Easter candy into nap time. Ryan is proud of her.
We look at our kids in absolute awe and also wonder how long we will send them to grandparent summer camp.
We meet my mom and sisters for “truck dinners” and I spray hand sanitizer at them like pepper spray.
Maisley and Coura are always naked and over-use the nature potty.
I feel more anxious about it being over than being in it.
I do therapy in my car over the phone.
I dream about buying a house on Orcas Island surrounded by thousands of giant trees.
I purposely slow down or speed up my walk to “run into” neighbors.
Maisley says, “It’s all about the germs and the worms”.
I wonder about what we’ll take with us when it’s all over.