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Leaving Mexico

Sunrise in Bahia de Los Angeles, a few days before crossing back into the U.S.

Sunrise on Bahia de LA, our rigs are parked on the beach to the left

In church life, it isn’t uncommon for parents to come to church “for their children.” Though we’re not a religious travelling tribe, I think something similar happened with our group in the early days of our time together. The truth is that it can be a bit lonely for kids on the road (and with the backdrop of Covid these past two years, even more lonely). So, in the beginning of our travels, when our kiddos velcroed themselves to each other, super glued spirits to spirits, and created worlds of joy, play, and adventure together, I imagine the parents said, “We’ll keep doing this for the children. We’ll stay a bit longer in Baja.”

“We’ll do this for the kids” we said, as they played “Warriors Cats,” and “Puppies” together (Warrior Cats is an imaginary games based on a book one of them had read; I’m not quite sure how “Puppies” works!). “We’ll do this for the kids,” we said, as they built forts next to the rigs, under the rigs, among date trees, near garbage dumps, on the beach, far from the rigs. “We’ll do this for the kids,” we said, as they traded hundreds of bottlecaps and gathered hundreds more, and recruited us into their bottle cap collecting schemes.

We might have initially “done this for the children,” but the deeper truth is that we (the adults) needed this, too, just as many parents who come to church need the larger container of a faith community. During our time together, we’ve given each other hope, our travelling together a reminder that random people can become friends, can become close, can care for each other and their children, and can choose each other, again and again, as we’ve done on the road. We’ve fired up and shared sizzling hot grills, cooking fish, freshly caught from the ocean, veggies, and tortillas. We’ve split fresh bags of scallops, scrimp, and fish. We’ve done water runs and grocery and laundry runs for each other; the oldest teen takes care of the littles and the four dogs that are part of our group.

This magical episode of “Four Families and Their Baja Adventures” is speeding toward the end credits, and as we approach that time, waves and tremors of grief and sadness move among, over, and with the joy and appreciation we feel.

And this is the rhythm of life, these endings and beginings, the sunrises and sunsets that mark the start and finish of our days, these are the repititions of life, the joy and the struggle of loving, connecting, appreciating, and ending. Our small story of this Baja adventure rests in this larger story, which is the story of life. And so these final days are flavored with delight (we’re together, we’re on a beach in Mexico, we had empanadas and tamales for breakfast!), and sorrow as we approach the threshold of the U.S. border This is our last day in Mexico together, we’re all teary, and our kids are asking, “When will we see each other again?” We know that after we cross into Arizona, we’ll go off in our different directions, like a fire cracker exploding high in the night sky, sending its glowing shooting stars across the darkness.

And, like a firecracker, the after images will remain, memories burned into the neural pathways of our brain, reminding us of all we’ve shared: walks in canyons, deserts, and beaches, games of Bananagrams and Magic the Gathering, fires, tacos nights, pancake breakfasts, movie nights, so many birthdays, broken and repaired trucks, Easter egg dying and hunts, broken and repaired rigs, off roading RVs to remote beaches, an ER visit, mutual appreciation, scrapes and bruises, tears, laughter, and above all, delight at simply being together for all of this.

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