The idea of "work hard, play hard" has a slightly more impactful meaning to me lately. Kendra and I have been in our busy cycle of life and that means very few lazy evenings of crayons and coloring pages or walks to the park before dinner. Because of that, when I get time with one or both of the twins we really make it count. I'm on a regular cadence of having individual time with the kids about once every two weeks. I give them a lot of flexibility to choose whatever they want to do with me and wherever they want to go. The last time I had an evening free it was Easton's turn. We went for a mountain bike ride at night. Easton hyped it up so much that when it came time for Layla and I to hang out she wanted the same experience. We loaded up the bikes and sat in the van to figure out where to go for dinner.
Layla requested sushi. I said, "You bet!" We went to the revolving sushi place where we ate raw fish and rice until we were full. Then we headed straight to the trail head to catch the sunset and a couple of photos of Layla with her halo of sunlight.
We call this trail head "the chains" because along the road there are block pillars with big chains between then. Layla said, "I think Oupa could lift these" as she struggled to lift one of the links.
Through the entire ride she kept asking, "Did Easton ride this? Is this where Easton went? Did Easton make it up this hill?" She wanted to trace the exact path on the trails for some reason. I think it was so they could compare notes. I assured her that we did the same trails. During one of our breaks I said, "you ride like a girl, Layla." She gave me a big hug and said, "Thanks Dad. You're a good teacher." I hope she always maintains that positive view of what it means to do something "like a girl".
As dusk turned into night we heard some coyotes off in the distance. We stopped and talked back to the coyotes with loud howls. Layla's eyes are closed as she strains to howl as loud as possible.
The city lights in the distance are too blurry to make out, but we were a long way up the mountain. The light on top of her helmet was very helpful in making her feel safe and comfortable. I thought she might get a little scared as the darkness of night slowly crept in. Layla was extremely brave and loved every minute of our time on the bikes. She asked when we can go again. That's a good sign that she enjoyed our adventure.
This brings me to my deep thought for the day. I've never heard a person at the end of their life say, "I wish I hadn't spent so much time with my kids." That tells me there will be no regrets with regards to where my time was spent when I get to my deathbed. I don't spend time with Layla and Easton just so I can say, "see i spent time with you." I spend time with them because it is one of the most fulfilling things I could ever experience. Every day I look forward to seeing them when I walk in the door. and kids know whether a parent is present or not in body or in emotion or in mind. It is possible to be present in body, but somewhere else in your thoughts. I make a conscious effort to be fully present as much as possible. In the car, on the trail, at the park, wherever. kids notice...
Kendra and I have close to zero free time, but the fast pace of leading 90 people through our class while building 15 leaders at once is completely worth it. We are seeing people work through a variety of bad definitions, personal struggles, and past experiences. We took two leaders with us down to our other campus and stopped for coffee on the way. Every Wednesday is a 14 hour day when my corporate job is added to the travel and class time. Every Sunday is a 13 hour day with church and class. I know there are doctors who do that six days a week, but it's an adjustment for someone like me who isn't used to it.
See you soon!