Great quote from a piece on This Is Us, last season’s water-cooler show that had one of the most well-constructed and executed pilots in recent memory.
For over a decade I’ve run summer conferences for teenagers in which a good portion of the time is dedicated to discussing and exploring their own lives in and through relationships. For years, I expected that teenagers would care most about dating relationships with an additional emphasis on matters relating to sex (they’re teenagers, after all). I figured friendships would come in second and family relationships would be a tertiary factor, eventually. But with nearly 20,000 teenagers passing through our program across two decades, one of the true constants amid all manner of variations in the lives of teenagers is that familial relationships are their primary focus.
It’s pretty quiet around here.
That’s normally not that unusual1, but for the past couple of weeks it has been. Some of our kids were in town (no, not those kids, the Italy ones), and the kids have kids, and that makes for a much more exciting household. Where by “exciting” I mean “chaotic”.2
Since we spent a week in Portland with their LG replacements a couple of months ago, it’s fitting that we were able to see the Davidson’s this summer as well. When last I wrote about them, they were in the process of going back on mission to Italy; they have now been there for two years and are home on furlough for the summer, and we were fortunate to have them spend several days with us.
Rumor has it I’ve quit writing. As rumors go, this one has more legs than most because it’s been two months since I’ve posted anything. One of the deals I made when I started the new location for the blog was that I was going to write more, and, for the most part, I’ve managed to do that. Until this summer.
Unlike in the past, however, I have a fairly good reason for this. The WCG and his transportation devices1 were home on furlough for the summer. Call it “otherwise engaged.”
Lots of things happen when the WCG hits town.
My daughter, who as you know lives with her husband and son in Cambodia, has a new carved elephant sitting on their TV stand. It’s an African bull elephant sitting on his haunches, with painted ears, eyes, and toes. It seems a bit out-of-place — it’s the only carved anything in their house that I know of, and certainly in their family room. As a result, I knew why it was there even before I asked her about it.
My wife and I also have an elephant — several elephants, actually — on a lacquered piece on the wall of our bedroom.
There’s an old joke that goes something like, “You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family.” Or maybe I made that middle part up. Anyway, the point is supposed to be that you don’t really have a choice about who your family is.
But that’s not always true.
Thirty years ago, I looked around in our church’s vestibule (that our church had a vestibule tells you a lot, and that we called it a vestibule tells you even more) and saw the prettiest three-year-old I’d ever laid eyes on. We toss the word “breathtaking” around a bit too much (“You keep usin’ that word…”, Inigo would tell us), but she truly was.
On our visit to Cambodia a couple of months ago to see the WCG (don’t worry, we saw his parents and our other kids in Cambodia, too), we went to a magnificent, magical, and mystical place for kids. No, Disney Cambodia isn’t (yet?) a reality, this place is called Kids City.
Kids City is ten-stories of fun. Laser tag, go-karts, bumper cars, playgrounds, science galleries, and plenty of other thrills for kids of all ages. And… clip-and-climb.
Clip-and-climb is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a climbing gym with all manner of different climbing stations. The climber puts on a harness, clips onto an auto-tightening rope at the chosen station, and heads for the clouds.