Have you ever seen the movie Up by Disney/Pixar? It’s another one of our favorite movies around here. Of course maybe that's because our family has this sense of adventure deep in our souls. The line, “Adventure is out there” pretty much sums up my childhood. Heck it sums up my parents life together since the beginning. Pretty much as soon as my parents married they were off and running around the world. They have lived, visited, traveled and taken me along to so many amazing and exotic places I can’t keep count. Combined together our family has scene Vietnam, Panama, Germany, England, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Korea and most recently Ecuador. Honestly our international itineraries are a lot bigger than just those named above and if you add in most of the continental U.S. you might just begin to get the picture of our lives. As a child I was blessed to walk through castles, take cruises down famous rivers of the world, cross the English Channel on a hovercraft, step through the doors of museums most kids only dream about, hike up and repel down mountains, sled through the Black Forrest, ride the big roller coasters of the day and visit countless historical sites around the world and back again. I’ve lived a very full life indeed. Life has been an adventure without a doubt.
The reason for this, well that’s an easy answer. My dad is an adventurer by nature. He’s an old army paratrooper, adventure is just in his blood. I am definitely my father’s daughter. Not only am I daddy’s little girl I have his love of adventure as well. As a child I can remember table discussions centered around our next big adventures. I was always ready, excited to make our plans a reality. Some ideas like living on a houseboat or moving to Australia to homestead never quite came to fruition. I’m sure my mom had something to do with that. She’s our compass, keeping us on track. But other ideas like New Orleans and the New River Gorge in West Virginia became part of our memories reel. The truth is my mom wasn’t always as adventurous. She likes to play it a bit safer while my dad loves the call of the unknown. It’s why I think they are so good together. And after almost 48 years of marriage, life is never dull. Truthfully they still balance one another out. My dad is curious, he loves to taste new foods and experience new things, spend time with people outside his own borders. My mom, is a people person, just like my grand pop, she has never known a stranger. Looking back on their life together, I realize how blessed I am truly am. Because my parent’s life has been anything but boring, my life has been anything but ordinary. Charting my parent’s adventures, the quote, “Live the life that people write novels about” rings true.
Even now, my dad is seeking adventure and my mom is right there by his side. Just recently they went on one of the biggest adventures of their lives to Quio and Cuenca Ecuador some 9350 feet above sea level. How amazing is that? At 68 and 72 years old they set out on their own to explore, make new friends, experience a new culture and try foods far from the ordinary. From the markets to the mountains, the day trips and excursions, learning about the local lifestyle and the beautiful people of the area my parents set out on a very incredible adventure. Twelve days together, in an exotic new place, making memories and experiencing a new expedition in their golden years. Kinda reminds you of Up doesn’t it? Who knows where their next adventure will take them. Maybe Costa Rica, Belize, possibly back to Panama, or even Japan or Shanghai. The possibilities are endless. After all if my parents have taught me anything about living it’s “Life is about moments. Don’t wait for them, create them.” And through their example I have learned Paradise Falls is never too far out of reach.
Life Lesson #76 ~ big adventures in life are important. “We must have ADVENTURES in order to know where we truly belong.” If I had not lived and visited the many places I have since my childhood began I wouldn’t have any idea why I love calling Texas home. If not for my parents daring spirits and appetite for the extraordinary I wouldn’t have experienced the remarkable, unforgettable, incredible and yes wondrous life I have. So while I really have no idea where my parent’s next adventure will take them I’m beyond enthusiastic to find out. It’s time for my dad to retire, for my parents to enjoy a slower paced kind of living while still appreciating and savoring some fairly stupendous big adventures. When I think about my parents I’m reminded of Psalm 16:11 as it says this, “You will show me the path that leads to life; your presence fills me with joy and brings me pleasure forever.” Truly my parent’s big adventures have brought them so much joy even if heartache was the catalyst at certain points behind the adventures. Those memories, they are our stories, our history and yes they will forever bring pleasure to our hearts.
Mom, dad thank you so much for the unbelievable, unforgettable and fantastic adventures you’ve given me. Certainly I’m a complex and genuine person because of them. But I’ve also grown into the deep-rooted, heartfelt and enthusiastic woman I am today because of you. From the moment I first opened my eyes way back in 1973 you knew we’d share a life of great adventures together. I’m truly thankful for all our unusual and exciting, while not always hazardous, but certainly grand and amazing adventures we’ve mastered as a family. From my childhood through the present you’ve provided me and my children with an astonishing backdrop to life. As David Bowie once said, “I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” That about sums it up doesn’t it?
So here’s to Paradise Falls, our mutual weirdness, adventure books and remembering the boring stuff together. Mom and dad, you just might find me hiding under your house, like Dug, from time to time simply because I love you. Truthfully speaking, “Thanks for the adventure. Now go have a new one.” I love you both.