I’m on my way home from California. Seriously.
Last Saturday night, I received a text that made my jaw drop and then my hubby’s. At first I thought my friend Autumn was kidding, but she wasn’t. We were offered the gift of gas to California and back to come stay with them near Los Angelos. A vacation in So Cal!
I looked at Paul for my answer and he grinned, “Sure. Why not. You can take school with you.”
So I said, “Yes!! When?”
“Does this week work?”
So… twenty-four hours later, the van was loaded, the kids tucked in bed in their traveling clothes, and I was attempting to sleep, but was too excited.
4:45am came waaaaaay too early, but I was bubbling with excitement. I hadn’t told the kids where we going, just that we “were going to get up early to go look at houses all morning, so pack a back pack of items to play with in the car”. As I loaded Paul Louis into the van, he said, “I can’t believe we have to leave at night!”
An hour later, “Mom, where are we going?! We are going the opposite way from my bed!” I almost choked on my double chai latte when Phoebe piped up with that. Instead, I threw her my pillow and said, “Take a nap!”
6:50am, PST, I ordered them to put on their shoes and all exit the car from the right hand side. I needed a photo. We were on the side of the highway, so they were a bit perplexed. Only a bit. Sadly, I have them take so many photos in so many places, they weren’t that befuddled.
Until they saw what I wanted to be in the background for their photo.
It was an Arizona sign.
They smiled. They posed. Then they said, “Is that for real?”
I grinned. I paused. I said, “Yup. We’re in Arizona now!”
As we loaded back into the van, the guesses started flying. A quick geography lesson started. We reviewed the states near New Mexico. We reviewed which direction Arizona is from New Mexico.
I was lovin’ it. Seriously. Double seriously.
There was a pause and Esther tentatively said, “Are we going to California?”
“Yup.” Screams (they’ve never been farther west than Albuquerque). Pause. Staring at each other and then…
And so began a vacation for me and four of my kiddos. Hannah Beth and Noah had to stay home because their final week of play practice necessitated their presence. Noah also had a Landry Intensive Lab on Friday and Saturday. Paul had to work.
It was grins all around as we drove.
I even took a quick side trip to see the Meteor Crater while driving to LA. It was worth it not only because of it is the largest confirmed meteor crater in the world, but because my five year old has been asking to go since he saw the photos I took from the plane last January.
For six days, we played. We not only ran around California’s Canyon Country suburb, but we ran around the house as if we lived here. Giggling, yelling, exploring, and romping. In California. With the Becks.
For six days, we fellowshipped. We not only soaked in the California sun, but we soaked in the time with our friends. We visited, hung out, chatted, and just reconnected. In California. With the Becks.
For six days, we observed. We not only checked out California’s views, but we checked out our friends’ lives. We enjoyed getting to see a part of their lives here by attending church and AWANAs with them as well as enjoying their home and familiar sites. In California. With the Becks.
My dear friend Autumn and Michael offered this trip as a way to minister to me during a painful time in my life. Autumn couldn’t hug me in person while hearing my heart, so she brought me to her for hugs. For a break. For some fun.
I received, inhaled, and enjoyed many and much of all three. It was beyond delightful. I am beyond grateful.
It was a lot for my heart to take in, this gift of love to my hurting heart. I will never forget it. And my kiddos won’t either.
Has anyone surprised you with a gift of love?