Elizabeth had spent weeks studying the hotel’s website. Daily, she’d pore over stock pictures of the mediocre-to-most hotel breakfast. “So you’re saying I get to eat ALL THE BACON I WANT?” she’d confirm again and again, completely mesmerized by the notion. She rehearsed the details and the plans. Shopping. Food. Pool. Friends. Food. Nails. Food.
Over the past few years, The Kindergarten Trip has become quite the beloved tradition in our home. This all came about when Matt took a cue from our church’s phenomenal counseling pastor, Brad Hambrick, who had started a similar tradition with his sons. His purpose? “Defining special occasions and major lessons with a memorable trip.”
We loved this idea of celebrating specific rites of passage with concentrated one-on-one time with our kids. Sure, we were in it for the fun. In Elizabeth’s case, we would shop! Swim! Eat all of the Hampton Inn bacon her little gut could handle! (Oh my gosh.) But we also desperately want to grab ahold of these golden opportunities to speak truth into our kids’ lives at pivotal moments. To press pause on the crazy at home and to carve out the space and time to invest in relationship. To insert ourselves, as parents, into some of the biggest transitions in their lives and to create positive memories surrounding these moments.
I know this might sound really Pollyannaish to some, but it really comes down to this- we just want our kids to know to the core of their being that they are loved in a no-matter-what kind of way. Because they WILL screw up. They’re going to run into tough situations in school. There will be hard questions and big conversations and bad days. And we want them to know that our house- imperfect though it may be- is a place of grace and mercy and truth. We want our kids to know that they can run to us with all of their everything. And when they do, we’re going to point them right back to the One who loves perfectly. Because, while I am known to roll my eyes and grit my teeth in frustration, His patience never runs dry. His grace is perfect. And his strength is limitless.
I want to teach them to run to us so that, ultimately, they learn to sprint to Him.
I want to surprise them with grace and to love ’em big and, then, to look in their eyes and say, “You know what? There’s a love that’s even greater!”
That’s the goal. And if a one night trip a few hours down the road to Charlotte gets me one step closer to accomplishing this, then we’re on the right track. Because this parenting thing is a marathon. And sometimes we’re just lucky enough to get “really spot on” (Elizabeth’s words, not mine) hotel bacon along the way.