Almost immediately after moving to Seattle, I knew that Seattle's particular brand of June gloom simply would not do for me when it comes to having the very best summer. As a kid, I remember long, lazy days spent at the beach with my sister and mom. Or afternoons walking over to the pool in our housing complex to swim until dusk. My skin would turn a warm, baked color and my hair would bleach out from all the time outdoors, in the bright light of the California sunshine. So, no, days spent indoors in the rain in June were NOT going to be on our agenda, even if we were now settling in what I consider my favorite city in the country.
Also, I wanted my girls to grow up close to their cousins, and this past year our families have scattered to different ends of the country. I knew that if we weren't intentional, that dream wouldn't happen. But, I grew up living far away from my cousins, and even now I'm sad we're not a bigger part of one another's lives.
In the great gray gloom of last year's June, I started planning our California road trip. A chance to get away when summer hasn't yet hit Seattle, and when the full heat of the California sun hasn't quite reached it's peak. Most of all, a chance to see our friends and family we miss so much in our new home in Seattle. And, so, a year later here we are - having started what I hope will be a yearly tradition.
Our first stop, Modesto, CA- where we're staying with Lucas' parents in his childhood home. There's a pool, a shaded deck, and best of all: lots and lots of family.
We've spent most of our days so far playing with cousins, and with each passing year I realize all the more what a blessing it is that each of my girls has a cousin very close in age to be close to. We decided to plan a few special activities for all the girls while they're together. And some have been more of a hit than others. But, my hope is that this will be the beginning of a tradition. A trip down to soak up the sun and to bask in the greater light of fun, family, and friendship.