In 2002, Hubby and I took a road trip.
And, not any old road trip, mind you.
We decided that we wanted to take one last big trip before Fruit Loop #1 arrived the following winter. We flew from our home on the East Coast to San Diego and rented a car with the intention of spending two weeks driving up the Pacific Coast Highway with a lot of stops in between. I was six months pregnant and convinced I could tolerate two weeks traversing the state of California IN A CAR, despite my need to pee every thirty two seconds.
And we didn’t rent any old car, mind you.
We rented a bright yellow, convertible Mustang, thank you very much. And it was a sweet ride. Mostly (more on that in a bit).
Upon arriving in San Diego, we were pumped and excited to get on the road the next day. We left the airport and checked into our hotel, eager to sleep off the jet lag and grab some dinner in one of our favorite cities. As we lugged our suitcases into our room, we quickly realized our room wasn’t of the highest hotel standards in the business. The bedspreads were shabby, there was a dank smell in the air and there were sugar ants in the drains of the sink and tub. Okay, so it wasn’t the luxurious, palatial hotel room we’d hoped for but it was only for one night. We’d slept in worse.
It was the worst night of sleep I’ve ever had in my life.
But, no matter. We were on a road trip! A bonafide, real deal, let’s see some of God’s magical country road trip! Our first stop was Las Vegas, NV because why wouldn’t a pregnant, first time parent want to head to the gambling capital of the world?? Shut up. I can hear you laughing.
So, here’s the thing about traveling through the desert when you are six months pregnant: there are practically no rest stops. Like none. As I was not willing to have my derriere bitten by a rattlesnake, I chose to suck it up and hold on for the nearest rest stop, which, according to a sign was about thirty miles away. I did deep breathing exercises as I not so patiently waited for my toilet mirage in the desert to appear. About five miles and some serious sweating before the stop, a giant sign announced that the rest stop was closed. CLOSED. And the next stop wasn’t until just outside of Las Vegas.
I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say: my pants were soaked when we arrived at Treasure Island. And there were many, many tears. And swears.
Six hours later, after I had clean maternity pants and a renewed spirit, I got a phone call that I had been fired from my job back home.
I was pregnant, had just wet myself in the middle of a desert and I was now gainfully UNemployed.
I think we can all agree that was a low point. And, it was only Day 2 of our ten day vacation.
Needless to say, my attitude pretty much sucked from that point on. And that’s putting it nicely.
I was hormonal, angry and homesick. My pregnant ass couldn’t navigate getting in and out of a Big Bird yellow car and every dime we spent made me nauseous now that my income was null and void. I couldn’t enjoy myself and Hubby got the brunt of my anger. He’s a saint, that man. Not even the beautiful scenery of California could lift me from my funk.
But, somewhere during the fifth day of our travels, I had an epiphany when reading, of all things, Time magazine.
I remember the moment clearly and, to this day, I can even smell the asphalt mixed with mountain air permeating the car. The sun hit the mountains we were driving through at just the right angle so as to make them appear they were glowing a reddish hue. The radio had an Oldies station that faded in and out and I was reading an article about teaching your kids how to be responsible with money. The article said that you could teach kids the basics but that in order for kids to grasp the value of a dollar, they had to understand the concept of “being rich” and gratitude.
“Being rich” was defined as having everything you need and a little bit more.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED AND A LITTLE BIT MORE, PEOPLE.
My life changed on that California highway, I don’t mind telling you. And it didn’t change because I got my job back or because my bladder suddenly started cooperating. My life didn’t change because I was on the trip of a lifetime. It changed because I gained much needed perspective. With my husband by my side, my child in my womb and this big beautiful life I’d been granted, I was rich.
And I vowed that I’d make sure my kids understood that concept from a much earlier age than I did.
Flash forward thirteen years, two Fruit Loops and a career change, I was approached by Alexandra and Scott Eidens who seemingly understand how to teach kids about gratitude in a pretty cool way. They created The Big Life Journal because they wanted a way to teach their soon to be born child and other children concepts like mindfulness and perseverance in a creative, hands on way that children would grasp easily.
Basically, they were trying avoid their child having to wait 28 years to have an epiphany about gratitude at 65 mph on a California highway.
When they asked me to tell you guys about their project, it was a no brainer. The Big Life Journal combines some of my favorite things: writing, gratitude, and children learning to be decent members of society from an early age. And, in this turbulent time of politics and vitriol, our children are being scared witless with news of terrorism, shootings and grown ups behaving badly. Kids need a place to process their feelings. They need a journaling buddy (that’s YOU, parents…) to help them find the good in our world. Just like Mr. Rogers told our generation to find the helpers, the Eidens are doing their part to help our kids be grateful in a time when that’s not en vogue.
What’s not to love? But, here’s the the thing: The Big Life Journal isn’t a thing yet. It’s sort of a thing as they have a few copies that they can send out but they want to hit the world by storm and they need a little gratitude from you in the form of donations to their project. What do you say? How about you skip that Starbucks today and help these fine people make the world a nicer place?
Seriously, it’s no fun to realize at the age of 28 that you’ve been an ungrateful brat for much of your life. Let’s get The Big Life Journal off the ground, shall we?
If you’d like to support the Eidens and The Big Life Journal, here’s the link to The Big Life Journal’s Kickstarter Campaign.
Note: I was thrilled and excited when Alexandra and Scott asked me to work with them. Did I get paid for this post? You betcha. BUT, I only agreed to do so because I loved their product and I thought you guys would, too. I would never steer you wrong, bitchachos. Only KEEPER APPROVED stuff will grace my blog page!