Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Thanksgiving 2019

It’s all about the experience.

I really don’t believe in giving grandchildren a lot of material things. Instead Sharon and I value the sharing of experiences and skill development above all else for our grandkids. This year was no exception when both families came out for the Thanksgiving holidays. Our focus was on ‘doing’ with the kids, not giving.

In past visits, we’ve been fortunate enough to travel up to Joshua tree for long hikes, bouldering and picnicking. We’ve taken the kids rock-climbing, horseback riding, gone on covered wagon tours back into the mountains and conducted bear hunts (sort of like snipe hunts) on the golf course at night.

This year we were able to add to that growing list of experiences for the grandchildren and their parents alike. But first we started with Brian and Melanie conquering the C2C. Also known as the Skyline Trail, ‘Cactus to Clouds’ has the greatest elevation gain of any trail in the Continental United States. It climbs up 8,000 feet in the first 12 miles from the desert floor to Long Valley, then joins with the main trail to gain another 2,600 feet to the summit of San Jacinto Mountain. My kids did it in a little over 13 hours of nonstop climbing. It wears me out just to think about it.

Sharon and I are always looking for ways to introduce the arts to our kids. They’ve all had art lessons from Nana and performed in plays by Papa. The Coachella Valley is fortunate to have a world class theater in the McCallum Theater. While the kids were here, it hosted a performance of ‘A Christmas Story, the Musical.’ The kids loved it.

The kids performed their second staged reading of a new play written by Papa. There was time for lots of reading, art classes, cooking classes, and aqua adventures each day. Another tradition is hosting duties each evening for a different child. The selected grandchild gets to set the table, assign seating arrangements and lead in the evening prayer. Their sense of responsibility, authority, and accomplishment is always palatable.

As a gift from an artist friend of Sharon, each family received a framed portrait of their family pet. The LaCombs got a portrait of Cash, the wonder dog and the McMahons of Medbh, their Irish cat. Some other highlights of our week together were:

Cooking Classes

Thanksgiving 5k fun run

Playing Poker
Sun Worshipers

Bull Riding

Malibu Barbies

Amy, Sammi, & Charlotte



Studying new individualized recipe books


Picking lemons and oranges for juice

Making candy

Making art

Family visits are always a cherished tradition in our household. It’s time well spent and memories secured. None of those experiences can be taken away. They may fade over time but won’t disappear entirely. Hopefully it will become our legacy among others that we were able to share with the family.

Memories are made of this.

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