To celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday, the family came together in California in July for a week of fun. My dad rented a big, beautiful home in La Jolla, and we spent a fabulous week together.
The weather wasn’t as warm as we'd hoped, but we had a few afternoons of sunshine when we were able to hit the beach and the pool. We also explored the tide pools, visited the San Diego Safari Park, and went to a great park downtown. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what we do; we always have an awesome time when we are all together.
It is so fun to see all of our kiddos playing together. They are good little buddies, and I especially love how much Noah adores Callum. Cal is a pretty remarkable little boy (kind, curious, creative, independent), and I couldn’t think of anyone better for my son to look up to. I hope he follows Callum’s example forever, and I hope as the rest of the cousins get older, they will all love, support, lead, and help each other.
Since it’s a rare occasion for us to be all in one place at the same time, we also had some professional photos taken on the beach, and amazingly, they turned out pretty good. You just never know how things will go with that many little kiddos!
After the photos were done, Noah stripped off his pants and waded into the ocean and Ryan and Sally checked out the seagulls overhead. I love moments like this: being on the beach at dusk with my family, the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the wind whipping through my hair, my son's maniacal giggles as he raced the surf...perfection.
My favorite photo of all is my dad with his five grandkids. I love it because the joy is so obvious on his face; he looks so happy to be surrounded by his little people.
My dad has endured some tough trials in his life—his wife fought breast cancer for 13 years, he lost her at age 48, and he has been a widowerer ever since—but he never ceases to amaze me with his gratitude and optimism. He is truly grateful for all of the abundance in his life, I think particularly for his children and grandchildren. During one of our nightly family devotionals in San Diego, my dad quoted a favorite scripture from Isaiah: “Sing unto the Lord; for he hath done excellent things.” He said this is one of the mottos because he has been so richly blessed, and he thanks the Lord daily for all of the excellent things in his life.
I wish that my mom were physically by my dad’s side in that photo of him with his grandchildren, but I know, without a doubt, that she is amazingly proud of him and the way that he has carried on without her. And I have a feeling that she is by his side more often than we realize, observing the chaos and fun of our growing clan.
I love my family, and I love the opportunities that I have to spend time with them. I am grateful to my dad for making trips like this reunion in La Jolla possible, so that we can grow closer and continue to cherish each other.