Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Magic of a Sunset, And Maybe a Road Trip

"Run, we have to catch it! It's almost gone! Hurry, we can't miss it!," I was urging loudly as I screeched the minivan sideways into a parking spot by the beach. We took off our flip flops and all started running toward the ocean. "We only have a few minutes left, hurry!," I shouted into the wind as we ran.

I tripped over the edge of my long dress and it ripped a little bit, but I kept running. The kids were lagging behind but still making their way in the white sand, dodging the scattered people that were on the beach. Suddenly I stopped and gasped. "There it is, we didn't miss it," I exclaimed bending over putting my hands on my knees, trying to catch my breath. "The sunset. Isn't it beautiful kids? Look at it."

We all stood, speechless, looking at the pink and red sky as the sun dropped below the horizon. The sound of the waves rolling onto the shore and the seagulls searching for treasures left my the afternoon beach goers. The people that dotted the shoreline looked like enchanted shadows from Peter Pan--some darting in and out of the water, others walking hand in hand down the beach. 

"It's magic, isn't it?," I smiled at the kids. "This is what we couldn't miss."

We got there just in time, just as the sun was setting.

This was one of my favorite nights from our road trip across 10 states that lasted 21 days. I have so many more wonderful memories from our journey. Seeing museums and memorials that I have never seen before in D.C. even though I have been there countless times in my life. Going to Universal Studios and watching my kids, even the cranky teenagers, fall in love with Harry Potter's Wizard World and roller coasters and adventure rides. Jumping into a pool an hour before it closed at a rinky-dink motel in North Carolina in the dark with my clothes on because I didn't want the kids to have all the fun. Eating so much junk food we all craved salads and carrots when we got home. Hearing my kids laugh and sing and have fun together. 

It was chaotic and unorganized and spontaneous and mostly very fly by the seat of our pants kind of travel. Most of the time we didn't have any "have tos" or timelines or schedules. If we wanted to stop at Peach World, we totally could. Okay, I was the only one that wanted to stop at Peach World, but the kids ended up thinking it was fun and JT got a shark tooth necklace for $4 there so he was happy.

JT's travel look. lol

We also stopped on the campus of Duke University when we were passing through on our way to see my brother in Savannah.  Our plan was to take a picture of the boys outside of the basketball stadium because they are big fans. After we took the picture we found a giant spider that we were all enthralled by and were taking pictures and videos and guessing what kind of spider it was and promising we would add it to our list of questions we had for Google when we got back on the road. As we were talking, JT noticed there were people inside stadium lobby. He pulled on the door and it opened. We crept inside. Turns out there is a whole museum type display with glass cases full of trophies and memorabilia and pictures. There are also interactive booths with crowd noise piped in along with the fight song. There were several other fans wandering around the exhibit. Then like a scene out of a movie, a gentle old man walks over to us and asks us if we'd like to see center court. "Yes please!," we replied eagerly.

"I'll take you the back way," he said softly. As we walked down the back halls, he talked to the kids about the history of Duke basketball and when the wood was put in and how old the railing is. He also asked them about their lives and if they played sports. The kids seemed to feel really comfortable talking to him because they were telling him stories about their football games, cross country plans and Wade proudly told him he recently ran his first 5-K and got a medal. Once we reached the court, he told the kids and me to take a minute and enjoy it. We stood on center court and breathed in the history of all the games that had been played there and the talented athletes that had been on that floor. As we made our way back upstairs, the grandfatherly man talked to Peyton and Lucy about keeping up their grades and staying focused if they wanted to go to college. We thanked him and he nodded and smiled and said, "I'm so glad you all stopped and got to see this." And then I think he might have disappeared into the wood panels from 1931 like a ghost. I'm just kidding, but he seemed too perfect to be real. 

Wade wanted to take pictures too,
 so I bought him a disposable camera.

That's the point of my road trips--I want to give my kids a sense of wonder and adventure in the ordinary stuff and encourage them to let go of the timelines and schedules sometimes and stop and enjoy it all, even the seemingly ridiculous. Peek in the windows, open the unlocked doors, notice the spiders, buy the cheap shark took necklaces, talk to people on the beach, jump in the pool with your clothes on, and don't ever not appreciate the beauty and power of a beautiful sunset. 
Lucy capturing the sunset on her phone. Makes me proud.

I wish this was my back yard...for real.

As I wrestle with trying to fit back into "normal" life, I have to remind myself of those things too. I have to remember that even though I truly struggle with organizing my life and my kids' lives and that I don't feel like I will ever fit in with "normal" life, the things I can teach them and show them have some value. 

Yesterday I almost had to quit my job because I forgot to sign Wade up for the program he goes to before school, since my job at the preschool starts before his elementary school. And this wasn't my first time forgetting to do that. I frantically called and emailed and apologized to the program and my boss. "I think I'm pretty good with the kids and my gosh I love them, but I'm sorry I'm so unorganized and I'm working on it I promise," I told my boss. Luckily, she was wonderful and helped me and I still have a job at the preschool. 

I do that a lot--I mess up calendars and schedules. I forget stuff. I always have library late fees, always. And I say sorry, a lot. I hate that my kids see that. I feel like a failure at "normal" life.

But on the road trip it's different. I get to show them a side of me that I hope they remember along with the apologizing side...someone who appreciates life and people and sunsets and oceans and finding new roads and ways to get places and connection and adventure and being alive. That's important too right? Maybe. Hopefully. 

Here's a little recap video I made of our trip:

road trip 2017--A million good memories from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

Heard a TON of country music and while it's not my fav genre (at least new country), I fell in love this song and it's how I felt and feel and ahhhhh.


  1. You are making amazing memories for your kids. And forgetting happens to the best of us :)

  2. I think every sportsman who works day and night to improve his game deserves a gold medal. You should be proud of your son because of his accomplishments.