Caskey Costa Rica Mission Trip Day 2 Adrenaline Rush

We had a very early start to our day, today. It was our excursion day, which was a day set aside for us to get a chance to have some fun and do something that’s somewhat uniquely Costa Rican. So, we headed out to the San Luis Canopy Tour. What’s a Canopy Tour, you may ask? You can check it out at the link I just provided, but in a nutshell, it’s zip lining, but zip lining on steroids. The most intense rush ever!!! And, I wanna go again, and again, and again!

The whole time you’re immersed in the lush green forest in the high mountains. ‎12 different zip lines of different lengths and heights, and you go from 1, to the next, and the next, until you’ve done all of them and you’re back to where you started from. This included 1 free swing they call “Tarzan”. You swing out 3 times over the tops of the trees, with the guides catching you each time and pushing you as hard as they can back out again. About 150 feet below you is a river and you’re swinging out from the mountain side, from between trees, and then over the tops of trees. It made the old rope swing you might have had in your back yard or maybe one that you used to swing out over a lake look pretty small. Then the tour concludes with the ultimate zip line that they call “Superman”. You’re strapped into a special harness and you’re going HEAD FIRST! The line is about 350 meters long (almost 4 football fields), and you’re about 300 feet above the canyon floor. Yes, you read that correctly. From the platform, you shoot out off the mountain side, between some trees, and then it’s like the whole valley opens up below. There is nothing but you, that line, and maybe some birds flying around. Just unbelievable! I still can’t get the view, from that high up, out of my head. It was like flying. No amusement park I’ve ever been to even compares.

I’m thankful that we had a day that we could just have some all-out, adrenaline rush kind of fun today. I’m thankful that God gives us those experiences. It was a thrill seeing the smiles on my kids’ faces, listening to their laughter and yes listening to their screams as they were flying through the trees. It was fun doing that myself. We now share that experience, that thrill, and no one can ever take that away. I’m sure we’ll always look back at this and tell stories about it. Today, we created some memories.

She Can’t Be Turning 18 Already

I almost can’t bring myself to say it. It just doesn’t feel right coming off the tongue. But, I guess I have to get use to it because time doesn’t stand still. It marches on at a rapid pace. Sometimes, so fast, that inside I’m screaming, STOP!!! I feel like that right now. On Tuesday, June 22nd, my oldest child, my wonderful oldest daughter, my first baby girl, the one that it seems like just yesterday I was calling “Pumpkin Face”, turns the magical age of 18. There, I said it, or wrote it in this case. Either way, it still doesn’t feel right.

Once again, like I always do, when coming up on these major milestone birthdays, I tend to do a lot of reflecting on the time that’s passed. The first thing that I think about, is that the wonderful day that she was born, was the day AFTER Father’s Day! I never let her forget that I had to wait a full 365 days before I had my first Father’s Day. Ok, sorry, enough of that. This is supposed to be a happy post. Actually, that day was one of the most exciting days in my life. One of the first things that I always think about is the little baby girl with the little red “Pumpkin Face” that I held so carefully in my arms. I remember how my wife would let me give her her last feeding of the night and how that precious little baby girl would drink until she had her fill and would fall asleep while still drinking. But then, I’d still have to take her on what we called the “Magic Daddy Ride” to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. I look back on the first soccer game, first day of school, first basketball game, first time driving by herself, first Homecoming dance, first Prom, and the many of “firsts” that have come and gone. As many of those things were firsts for her, they were also firsts for my wife and I as parents. Through it all, I see the girl that has grown and matured into a wonderful young, adult woman, who continues to melt her Dad’s heart every single day.

Now, as I think of the present and look forward, the thoughts of just how little time we have left with her weigh heavy on my heart. I think of how little time there is to see her each day, to hear her laugh at any time, to give her all the necessary advice for adulthood (she’d say I’ve given too much), to tell her I love her, that I’m always here for her, that I’m sorry for the arguments we’ve had, and to ask for forgiveness for the mistakes that I’ve made as her father. This is when I want to yell “STOP”, “WAIT”, “DO OVER”!!! But, I know that’s not possible. We all have to move forward with our bumpy road in our past, and learn from it. It’s very strange though because even though all of that does make me sad and nervous, I still have this great sense of joy, excitement, and peace, because I know the young adult woman that she’s turned out to be.

There are exciting times ahead and I’m excited for her. I look forward to watching her continue to grow and mature, and take on, and conquer, the new challenges to come. I’m confident that the Lord will guide her steps. I’m confident that she is ready to make this leap into adulthood. I’m confident in HER.

So, I celebrate this day, June 22, 2010, and say HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY to my baby girl.

Daddy, You Waste My Time

Kids. Sometimes, many times, some of the funniest things I’ve ever heard come out of their mouths. Some kids are funny because they’re trying to be and they just are. Others, while being as serious as they possibly can be, are funny because of the way they say something, or because of what they say.

My wife and I were reminded last night of one episode that happened a few years ago with our youngest child. I forget what we were talking about that lead up to us talking about it, but somehow it came up. And, as usual, it made us laugh as hard as it did the first time I told her the story and every time that we talk about it. So, I decided I should share it here and hopefully you’ll find it as funny as we do.

It happened a few years ago when our youngest was probably 7 or 8 years old. He’s usually a very up-beat kid that likes to have fun. But, at times, he can be very serious, impatient and easily frustrated. I guess this was one of those times that he ended up being the latter.

Anyway, we were at his basketball practice one night. The boys had been practicing hard for the first half of their practice, when the coach decided to give them a water break. When you’re 7 or 8, at basketball practice, the practice is Ok, but the water breaks are what you really look forward to. Because, if you don’t want to get a drink or don’t need a drink, then it’s just shoot around time and goof off time. So, as the team breaks some of the boys run to grab their basketballs to shoot during the water break. This, of course, includes my son. But, at that time a little girl happened to have picked up his basketball and was playing with it.

My son asked me to get his ball for him. But, like any good father (pay myself on the back here), I wanted to teach him to be a little self-sufficient. So I told him that he should ask the little girl to give him his basketball back. For some reason, he wouldn’t. I was surprised because normally he’s not too shy. But, this time, he decided he was going to be. He asked me again to get his ball, but I kept trying to coax him to ask her himself. We went back and forth for a little bit and then finally, he asked the little girl for the ball. I was glad he finally did it and he was happy (big grin on his face) that he had his ball. But then, disaster struck. As soon as he turned around to run out on the court to shoot around with his buddies, the coach told all the boys to put their basketballs down and huddle up. My son’s shoulders slumped over, his head dropped down, he slowly put his basketball back under the stands, and then walked back out on the court to huddle up with his team. The rest of practice, he just didn’t have the same enthusiasm, but, I didn’t think too much of it.

Once practice was over and we were leaving, I began to realize that he was being very quiet. Too quiet for him. As we drove home, the silence continued, which was strange. Usually, he would be talking about practice and all kinds of stuff. But, not tonight. So, finally I asked if something was wrong. Then from the backseat came this little boy’s sad, sad voice saying “Daddy, you waste my time”. He was as serious as he could be. I immediately realized that he felt that I wasted his time during the water break because I had made him ask for his own basketball back. We talked about it and finally everything was Ok. I didn’t dare laugh at that time, but I wanted to, badly because it sounded so funny.

After getting home and after he went to bed, I told my wife what happened. We both laughed hysterically for a quite a while and we still do to this day whenever we think of that.

“Daddy, you waste my time”.

Spelling Done “Slowly”

The other day at the breakfast table my youngest son and I were reviewing his spelling words for the week as we usually do over breakfast. This was the first time that we were reviewing this list of words for the week, so the words were new for both of us, except that he had studied them some. Normally, it’s a pretty boring event where I say the word, he spells it, then I ask for him to use it in a sentence and then he gives me one. You know the drill, right?

This day it was a little bit different though. I’ll do my best to relay how this went down in writing, but it may be difficult. So, please use your imagination in reading this.

The first word was “seen”. So, I said the word as usual and he spelled it “s-e-e-n”. No big deal, he spelled it with no trouble. For some reason, I skipped having him give a sentence though. Maybe it was because it was early in the week and I thought he’d be doing good just to get through them. So, I went right to the second word and said “slowly”. Well, I guess since I said it right after he had spelled “seen”, my son, without hesitation, spelled “s——————e——————e——————n”, with this look on his face, like “gosh Dad, are you getting that old?”. Once it hit me that he had spelled “seen” slowly for me, I about fell out of my chair laughing. He didn’t have a clue what was going on. Then I explained to him that I wanted him to spell the word “slowly”, not spell “seen” slowly. He, then got this sheepish grin on his face, and said, “oh”. Then, we both busted out laughing. Needless to say we had a good time with spelling words that morning.

Oh, the joys that kids bring from out of nowhere.