I was sitting on the beach reading, and I looked up from my book to a most wonderful sight. It was of my daughter Lucy, clutching a boogie board, being escorted to the shore by a strong wave of saltwater. The entire ride lasted barely five yards, but the transformation in her was light years from a few hours earlier. The initial introduction to this unfamiliar ocean vessel was marked with trepidation and more than a few tears.
Her triumphant, tooth-deprived grin was one of my favorite moments from our recent 11-day, 7-state, 2,300 mile road trip with three kids under seven. (The second epic leg of the #Notarule Tour is coming in September.)
Another special moment was seeing the pride and joy in Ben’s blue eyes as he began to master his “muscles,” the green camouflaged floatation vest that enabled him to independently venture beyond the pool’s steps. Like Lucy, he wasn’t sure about this new thing, but once he got the hang of it, there was no stopping him.
For both of them, like many things in life, the hard part was finding the courage to go for it.
Frankly, my favorite part of the trip might just be the fact that we did it. (Although the soul food at Mrs. B’s in Montgomery was right up there.) We planned our trip thoughtfully, and I hoped for the best, but it turned out even better than I imagined.
It certainly wasn’t easy. We posted the highlights on Facebook and Instagram, because most people don’t stop to capture the bad times. Besides, I doubt anyone wants to see an hour-long video of an exhausted 20-month-old too stubborn to sleep. Trust me, I was there for the live performance.
But we did it. We made it to the other side closer as a family and with neat new memories we wouldn’t have otherwise had.
The whole thing started with me getting an invitation to speak for an association of Medical Group Managers in Destin, Florida, a place I’d never been. People who heard about it said, “Oh you should really take the family.” One thing led to another, and it turned into this 11-day road trip that was part business trip, part book tour, part family vacation, part crazy.
It was harder to pull off than me just flying down alone. It would have been easier to wait till Ginny was older and more “travel ready.” But who among us is guaranteed tomorrow?
The minute we saw the emerald Gulf waters from our hotel room in Destin, I was so glad we did it. Had I went the easy way and traveled solo, I know I would have spent the whole time wishing I’d have figured out a way to bring the family.
My goal with this post is not to convince you to travel with kids, spend time in Florida, or wear camoflauged life vests. (Although I recommend all three.)
It’s about being aware of those opportunities to dance with adventure that quietly float into our lives, and the practice of not dismissing them simply because they are hard.
Most of the time, the reason we didn’t do the things we wish we would have is because they were too hard.
Too scary. Too risky. Too uncomfortable. Too uncertain. Too…something.
And yet the hardness is what makes the end result so worthwhile.
Mark Twain was right: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.”
Playing it safe, doing what you’ve always done, and sitting on the couch binge-watching MacGyver is easy.
Living a great story is hard.
But don’t let Adultitis fool you into thinking it’s not worth it.