Family vacations always take on a unique personality that is impossible to forecast. Regardless of how thoroughly you plan, no vacation is 100% wrinkle-free. How we respond in those moments has the potential to enhance or ruin the memory.
Last week our family enjoyed a getaway to Lake Tahoe...truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. It's a huge attraction in the winter for all those who love winter sports and a snowy wonderland. We have yet to get up there in the winter (which we hope to do someday), but we absolutely LOVE Tahoe in the summer! The lake is so blue it looks aqua, the natural landscape surrounding the lake is bursting with life, and the snow peaked mountains hover over as a physical barrier between us and the outside world.
About an hour in to our drive to Tahoe, my eyes bugged out of my head and I said, "The Pack-N-Play!" Oh. My. Gosh. Kinda an important thing to remember when traveling with a 7 month old who already has major sleep issues. Andy suggested stopping at a Target to buy one, but I shot down that idea right away, informing him that those things are, like, $150.
"I'll figure something out. We can make do."
When I saw that little cubby hole under the desk, I naively thought, "Oh, this is perfect. I'll just make her a little pallet down here and she'll feel all cozy in a space just her size." Not so much. Our sweet Karis is not in the running for any awards associated with "Most Flexible Baby". After a nightmare of a first night, my hero-husband found a children's consignment store in town where we bought a pack-n-play for $32. Possibly the best $32 we spent all week. Although Karis wasn't completely keen on the pack-n-play either, it was much better.
After an awesome (albeit sleepy) first morning at the park, we ran by the grocery store and then headed back to our cabin only to get tail-ended pretty bad. It was the worst car wreck any of us had ever been in and it shook us up a bit. The guy behind us clipped our right bumper which pushed us in to oncoming traffic. Thankfully, we were able to get back over to our side of the road and avoid a head-on collision. With hands shaking, we thanked Jesus that there were no injuries.
That was a bit of a rough start to our family vacation...Very little sleep the first night followed by a car wreck. But I can't even count how many times that week that Andy and I mentioned how thankful we were that we were all okay. The car wreck reminded us of how fragile life is and it framed our whole vacation with gratitude.
The final day of our vacation, we lounged on a blanket at a beautiful park overlooking the lake. While I played with Karis and watched my boys climb rock walls and swing across monkey bars, a family walked by pushing an oversized stroller with their handicapped son. The child looked to be about Caedmon's age. In my heart I whispered a prayer for strength and endurance for those parents as they courageously love and raise their son. That child is a blessing to be sure, but their lives undoubtedly face difficulties that I know nothing of. Again, it helped me remember what a gift it is that my rambunctious and rowdy boys have healthy bodies.
I said to our family this week, "You know, we are among the most blessed people on earth." There is always something for which to be thankful. Sometimes the blessings are as bright as neon flashing lights, and other times you have to look under rocks to find them. But they are there. Let's look around today and remember to give thanks.
Every good and perfect gift is from above. James 1:17