Sacrifices and Rewards

As parents, we rarely think about getting rewarded for the sacrifices we make for our kids. Or, at least, the reward isn’t the motivation for the sacrifices we make. For instance, when you spend most of the night cleaning up after, consoling and rocking a toddler with an upset stomach, that moment when they finally fall asleep cuddly and fresh-smelling in your lap makes it all worthwhile. The sweet sensation of their sweaty little head on your chest has a magical way of erasing the grogginess and exhaustion you drag into the next morning.

Last night, it wasn’t an uncomfortable toddler that kept me up well past my preferred 10:00 p.m. turn-in. Instead, it was an hour-and-a-half drive down to Seaside, CA to attend Jackie and Becky’s first volleyball playoff game. Seaside’s fans were racous and rowdy, which helped keep me awake for my next two-and-a-half hour drive further south to San Luis Obispo so I could drop off some pumpkin bars to Matt. We hadn’t seen him for a couple months, and it was a nice way to break up the even further drive south. We ultimately arrived in Santa Barbara in the wee hours of the morning.

Santa Barbara would be a reward in anyone’s book. One of the most beautiful places on earth is where Brooke is looking to attend college. She and I are here for a preview weekend at the school she is interested in attending in 2012, and it is breathtakingly beautiful. Here’s a shot of the ocean from a perch outside the dorm window:

Some kids just know what they want to do. They don’t need to visit 46 places, with confusing lists of Pros and Cons for each. They see it and know it. That’s Brooke. She is our fifth child and has always been joyful and easy. All of our kids are an incredible blessing with their individual personalities and gifts. Some of them have had a harder time crossing over from ‘challenge’ to ‘blessing’, but they all ultimately end up in the ‘blessing’ column. I figure God just knew I’d be a little worn out by that 5th child, and he plopped her straight into the ‘blessing’ column, spending virtually no time in that ‘challenge’ column. Rewarding.

And our reward for driving half the night? There’s a great little day restaurant that serves food delicious enough to wait in line for. And my favorite coffee drink ever, available only at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which sadly isn’t in northern California. Brooke is our foodie; not the snobby gourmet kind of foodie, but the kind that marks almost every life event by the meal that was served. She LOVES her meals. So her memories of Santa Barbara are marked by her favorite breakfast burrito:

I’m on the hunt for Oprah. Seriously. This is Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Country.



  1. Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

  2. I know that dorm room view very well. It’s the most beautiful college campus in America, I’m so glad I went there. I spotted and spoke with Oprah once at the restaurant I worked at in Montecito. Yes, we need a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf in the Bay Area.

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