To give or to be given? It depends on which side of the parental equation you’re on.
Tonight, we’re listening to the Grateful Dead station on Amazon Music.
Shelter from the Storm by Bob Dylan, came on as my older daughter (12 years old) was drawing a picture in one of her many notebooks. She asked me to help her shade an eyeball. Little does she know this was my specialty back in the 7th and 8th grade. So, I go find my favorite pencil and draw some eyeballs that leave her in awe (I’m not tooting my own horn here). I was — and am — a great drawer of eyeballs.
I’ll admit, there have been times where I thought I should have gained “epic” status in my daughter’s eyes. Yet, I’ve fallen short.
There were times when we were walking together on El Camino de Santiago through rural Spain — on trails that inspired JRR Tolkien’s version of The Shire — that I thought she might say “Wow! Dad, this is AWESOME!”
No such luck.
There were other times when we were fighting the waves of the Atlantic Ocean on the beaches of Tenerife. Some of those times, we all came up bloodied by the surf — yet we were all smiling at the end of the day.
No such luck.
Yet, today, when we connected through drawing AND music — two things she loves dearly — we truly connected in a way that world travel could not connect us.
To the outside observer, our world travels may seem exotic. And, indeed, to me, they seem epic. Yet, to my children, who had passports before they had school pictures, they seem quite mundane.
Both of my girls expect that they will see the entire world in their lifetimes.
As well they should.
Their mother, Nicole Akers, and I would never have been so bold as to think, at that age, that we would see anything outside of our hometowns except in the Encylopedia Britannica. But, we’ve seen much of the world at our leisure.
Indeed, I’ve taken the last year as a sabbatical, during which I’ve been able to experience the world through the eyes of my wife an both of my daughters — here in the US and in Spain.
I am blessed.
Now, as I’m finishing this piece, Shelter from the Storm is on Amazon Music again.
I realize that I’ve been sheltered, and I’ve been the storm.
I’ve been blessed to travel while taking a year off work.
I’ve been the driving force that has moved my family around the world — effectively making us homeless for more than four months.
I have helped us all to realize that “home” is wherever we all are. Whether it is in a thousand-year-old albergue or in a marble-tiled AirBNB in some part of Spain, or a rented house in Texas… wherever we all are, we are home.
Wherever we are — there is love.
Where there is love, there is home.
When the storms of life rage, wherever we are, there is shelter.
We are the shelter from the storm.