We joined the caravan of hundreds of mini vans heading north on 65 like ants after dropped nachos at the county fair. Close enough to the truth really. Our destination? Holiday World: A theme park in Santa Claus, Indiana where Christmas and Halloween, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July live side by side in harmony all Summer long, stitched together by roller coasters and funnel cake stands and all the “free” soft drinks a person can ingest.
Becky and I and our three kids along with Brian and Amy and their six kids made the trek to Indiana with our friends (and pastor) Andy and Amy and their four girls. Andy and Amy are from Indiana or, well, how else would we even know about this place in the middle of soy bean and corn fields?
Together, we qualify for a group rate. Cha-ching. And together we can chaperone each others’ kids, taking turns riding with the big kids, sitting with the little ones, escorting these two to the bathroom and those three to get ice cream and those four to…well, you get the idea. There’s a lot of outsourced parenting that goes on.
And a lot of catching up with friends, even the occasional rare serious conversation about this struggle or that question. Which is a nearly miraculous thing for people with kids hanging with people with kids. We’re at this great stage of life together though at which our children can play together without our constant attention and only rarely “accidentally” vault someone into a toddler or coffee table. It’s a risk worth taking I say. That’s why we have teenagers and insurance right?
Also, at Holiday World, I learned that there is more space in my skull at age 36 than there was previously – say, around age 6. When I was a boy I could spin around without feeling my brain bang against the sides of my skull. I could also go up and down quickly with feeling my brain stem wriggling free from my spine. But at my current age I can do neither – let alone both at the same time – without seriously wondering if I my next breath will be taken in Glory, as the Southern Gospel sangers at the “Family Friendly” stage might say.
Somehow the juice my brain floats in has evaporate over time. Or my brain shrank. Or being soft rock star really does give a person a big head. It doesn’t matter how this happened to me. The fact remains, I cannot go round and round or up and down without brain damage.
Lastly, I was reminded that 99% of human beings do not look good or feel good half naked. I was reminded again of this truth while standing in line on stairs for two hours to ride a water slide. Out of the thousand of us in that line there was one 17 year old male with six pack abs and pectoral muscles who looked like he belonged on the cover of Men’s Health. And there was one woman who, with the aid of a wealthy older husband and a plastic surgeon, had obviously put her money where her mouth is and put her treasure in her chest (as Andy Gullahorn brilliantly puts it). Her chin was also held high (along with everything else).
But the rest of us adults dodged self-loathing all day, slathered on the sunscreen to protect what the good Lord gave us, and gave thanks that we’re not as hairy as that guy. That guy is hired by water parks to walk around and make the rest of us feel fantastic about ourselves. It worked.
With our self-esteem boosted, our bellies full, and our vans smelling of chlorine and in need of vacuuming, we’re home and back at it. I’ve got more festivals to speak at, a team to serve, and a trip to Guatemala coming up. Time to put this battered brain of mine back to work.
What’d you do on Summer vacation?