I’m grateful for a really wonderful vacation with my oldest daughter in San Diego. I’m also grateful that my wife was able to chaperone my younger daughter’s eighth grade historical field trip to Washington DC and Philadelphia. That will be a memory both mom and daughter will have for a lifetime. I’m also grateful that my wife had the opportunity to take a vacation, get away from her full time job, and spend the week with other parents.
I’m grateful that my older daughter likes to do much of the same things I do. We enjoyed relaxing on the beach, cruising around getting lost while seeing the sights, and walking around the small shops in the different areas around San Diego. The Hotel Del Coronado was impressive, situated on a beautiful, breath-taking beach. My daughter pointed out that it looked more spectacular the farther we walked away and seeing the hotel from a distance.
I loved watching my daughter get her nails done, a tedious process for a girl and a stressful one for the first time using a powder nail polish rather than brushing on a liquid coat. The Asian woman who did the work was so meticulous, that my daughter’s nails came out flawless. For all the maintenance and expense that women need to do to feel elegant and graceful, I’m grateful I’m a man.
I’m grateful for our meals together, our morning Starbuck coffees, and the desserts we ate. I love that my daughter will still raise her hands with me in the back of the airplane during takeoff, not worrying what the other passengers think. I’m grateful my daughter was able to experience a live band at The House of Blues. Granted it wasn’t her type of music, she enjoyed herself sipping her Pepsi while I had a beer. She kept telling me she wanted to be old enough so I could take her clubbing, explaining that if she had a little alcohol, it wouldn’t bother her if I danced (my father dance moves tend to embarrass her). I’m sure she’ll change her mind when she turns 21, however, I’m grateful that she acknowledged how much fun she has with her dad.
I’m so proud and grateful that she attempted and practiced riding one of the motorized scooters. She was worried about what people would think that she almost didn’t have the courage to do it. It’s hard to explain that sometimes we need to fall down just so we can get up and learn. We found a back alley for her to practice and I’m grateful that the accident she saw between two scooters didn’t keep her from trying. It took a while, but eventually she had it down and we were scooting together around town. I’m grateful she conquered her fears and we had so much fun doing something completely different and out of the norm.
I’m grateful how we ended our trip. My daughter was as excited as I was to do this, but, as she explained, “Dad, we have to do this the morning when we leave. This will be the best way to end our trip and it will motivate me to get up early.” We spent an hour sipping coffee at the top of the parking garage that overlooks the San Diego airport. This is the structure that requires aircraft to make a steeper than normal approach on arrival. The low flying aircraft, the wake turbulence that would blow around us five seconds after the plane had passed by, and watching them land on the runway was exhilarating. Ever since she was an infant, my daughter has been looking skyward at planes. She would love to learn how to fly but does not want to make it a career or learn all the book work that comes with the license. I pray someday she decides to take the leap just like she did with the scooters.
I’m grateful that I finally flew a four-day trip with no changes. This was the first time I had everything go as planned. If only life could always be like that. And following that train of thought, I’m grateful that when schedules change at our airline, that everyone takes them in stride. This is the way life needs to be. We just need to learn to roll with the changes the Universe brings us.
I’m grateful for the house my parents purchased and built after I graduated from High School. As mentioned in a previous grateful post, my step-father spent just under two years commuting three hours or more a day so I could graduate High School with my friends. My parents had their home built during this period. I have no idea if it was the “dream home” they always wanted; however, it was something they put a lot of thought into.
They picked a corner lot since it had more yard space than the others. The lot they chose had our house facing the West, which allowed my parents to enjoy the sunsets. My step father kept going to the construction site and added his personal touches. He added flooring and framed a door in the upper attic adjacent to my bedroom and framed a door under the stairs. He had them add electrical to both storage areas so we had lights. After the house was inspected, he knocked out the sheet rock and added doors. This was back in the late 80’s before contractors started using this space.
My step-father also added two additional layers of bricks to the hearth of our fireplace to give it a better look. In addition, he added a mantel for my mother’s crafts. He built a brick retaining wall around the front yard equipped with a bench. This bench became the staple in the neighborhood where neighbors would stop on their walks to take a break. Our home became a social area for my parents as they talked to everyone who would stop by.
After living in a condo for over 14 years and dreaming about having a “home”, my parent’s house became a real home for me. I never realized how much of a sacrifice they had raising me in our condo. I’m sure at times it must have felt like they were trapped and weren’t able to get out. So much joy they must have felt when they were able to move into a four bedroom home with front and back yard they had purchased and had built. They would have been in their late 40’s when they were able to own their own home, after their son had graduated from High School. I’m grateful my parents gave me the experience of not taking things for granted and teaching me the importance of hard work and setting goals.