A few weeks ago I alluded to a bunch of personal crappola I was going through, and as hard as I tried to pretend it wasn’t there and sweep it under the rug, it finally came time to deal with it. I’ve mentioned a few times (mostly in this post of my blog name’s backstory) of the strained relationship I have with my dad. And by strained, I mean, four years with no talking, and only a handful of times in the years before that.
I thought I’d made peace with the fact he wasn’t in my life, once finally realized it’s okay to distance yourself from
some people…even family. Especially if that relationship threatens
your mental and emotional well-being. (Can you tell I’m married to a therapist?)
But a few months ago all that false bravado came crashing down on me. Turns out when you hear the words “Stage 4” and “metastasized,” all the rationale you’ve been clinging to just evaporates. The reasons I kept my distance suddenly felt small and insignificant. This was my father, the man who loves me even if he doesn’t know how to show it, the man who wants the very best for me, even if he doesn’t say it.
I tried to play it cool and stay in denial, but life was having none of that, and soon enough I was booking a last-minute trip to California to see him. (There are worse places to reconcile with your dad, right?!) On the flight over, my friend Erika posted this, and it spoke directly to my heart.
Sure enough, the moment I laid eyes on him, all was forgiven. Just like that, I let it go, and instantly felt lighter and happier. I no longer needed the big, heavy conversation, rehashing the past. I didn’t want to look back…I could start fresh right in that moment.
My dad and I spent a lot of time just being together, reconnecting and recommitting. Mr. SP and I were able to enjoy the area some too, which really contributed to the whole healing experience. The weekend was liberating, yet exhausting…why is that always the case with emotional journeys?!
I can’t do a travel-related post and not fill you in on what I packed, and tips on the area!
We spent time in Malibu, Summerland (a picturesque and charming town just south of Santa Barbara), and Manhattan Beach. The weather and beauty of Southern California totally helped to soothe our spirits.
My dad lives part-time in Malibu (that doesn’t suck), so the Mr. and I were able to take breaks from all the emotion, and enjoy the beach. I adore this man of mine. It’s easy to love your spouse when life is easy…it’s when life gets hard that you realize the true importance of the one you choose.
On the third day, we hugged my dad goodbye, with pure intentions of talking and seeing each other again soon, and Mr. SP and I spent the day hiking in Malibu Canyon, and riding bikes along the promenade in Manhattan Beach.
I’m not going to lie, as good and therapeutic as it was, there were a lot of tears. And even more tears when I got home. Along with a full day of baking…not sure where that came from! But God and my husband walked me through it. And now my dad is doing miraculously well, and we’re figuring out this new chance of being in each other’s life.
Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comments, emails, and texts in the past months, even though most of you didn’t know what I was going through, I felt your support. And thank you to my mom and stepdad who stepped up without hesitation to watch the kids so we could take this unexpected trip. It really does take a village, and we are blessed with ours.
Now for the details of our trip…first up, my travel uniform.
This is by no means a comprehensive travel post on Southern California…but I wanted to share the little treasures we discovered. Turns out Erika was right, forgiveness really is the key to life’s happiness.
Sidenote: Most of the pictures in this post were taken with my new Samsung Galaxy Camera, and it rocks! Oh, and one of you lucky ducks will win one later this week, because I’m giving this $500 camera away! (Not mine, I’m not that nice…but another one.)