On Tuesday, Mike picked Shelby up from school early and headed up to to Phoenix. She thought they're were going to Ikea for office furniture, but they were really going to see One Direction and Five Seconds of Summer. A bunch of her school friends were going to the concert and she was more than a little bummed she wasn't going too ... little did she she know the surprise we had up our sleeves.
One of the most vivid childhood memories is from a camping at Navaho Lake. My big, crazy family, along with my Aunt Wanda and her family hiked and camped at the lake. I remember sleeping in the pop up trailer my parents hauled behind out brown Jeep Cherokee. We swam in the lake. We ate by the fire. I couldn't have even been ten, but I remember that trip fondly and long for the same sort of memories for my own children.
In the last year or so, Mike and I have been making an effort to shift our family's focus off acquiring "things," and instead to "collecting" memories through experiences. This is why we didn't do traditional gifts at Christmas and surprised the kids with a cruise and day at Disneyland instead. This's why at the last minute this summer, I packed up the car and drove to Idaho. this is why I added an extra day onto a business trip, so I could spend some time with my baby brother and his family. And this is why I bought tickets to the One Direction concert, booked a hotel room for the night and made plans for Shelby and Mike to have dinner with her friends who were also attending the concert.
By no means do we spend less money. This whole shift in thinking has nothing to do with money. It's an attempt at shaping the way our kids think about the world and remember their childhoods. I'm pretty sure we actually spend more money on this endeavor, but it's really money well spent. It's where I want to put our resources and it's without a doubt the best choice for our family.
Seeing the pure joy on Shelby's face as she's rocking out at the show tells me we made the right choice. Hearing Mike's tales from the night, confirm to us that experiences are so much better than things. Scrolling through the videos and images from reminds me that this is the kind of experience Shelby will remember for ever. I can't even begin to tell you how happy this makes me.
I have to give my sweet husband props for being SO game for this particular experience. He decided he was going to go "all in" at the show and not be a "sad 1D Dad." In his words, "There were a lot of dads not having fun. Not this guy." Guess what? He had as much fun as Shelby. He danced with Shelby. Took all sorts of silly selfies. Posted crazy images to social media. His willingness to let go of his ego and just have fun made the whole night even more memorable. When Shelby is 40, she's going to look back and find joy in the memory of the night her took her to One Direction and screamed like all zillions of pre-teen girls all around him. Strong work Daddy, strong work.
In the last two years I've had three surgeries and five tumors removed. I've watched my little boy seizure, stop breathing and be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance. I've been summoned to sleep away camp because my daughter has been bleeding from her nose so much, she's lost too much blood to stay at camp and has to be taken to the hospital. I'm no longer interested in amassing a life full of stuff. I want to fill my time and life with great experiences and awesome memories.
Next up on the experience quest is a family trip to San Diego. We're spending a weekend later this month with the Kalil clan celebrating Mike's parents and their 40th wedding anniversary. There will with yummy food, dips in the ocean and a day at Legoland. But most of all, my children will spend a whole weekend with their extended family and get a chance to make special memories with their cousin. Yes, this is what life is all about.