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Hope Floats

There’s a movie quote I’ve been coming back to frequently over the past month. It’s from Hope Floats, a movie I barely remember watching, but I ran across it on a blog I like, and I keep returning to it nonetheless:

“Beginnings are usually scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s what’s in the middle that counts. So when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.”

That resonates today, more than a month after our family began the cross-country adventure that landed us in a new town with both more excitement and more challenges than I could have expected.

Southern Rim hike at the Grand Canyon

I don’t think I allowed myself to think about the hard stuff too much before we left. It might have stopped me, you know? Sometimes you just have to let go and let life happen. Who would do this otherwise? I can tell that the locals we’re meeting think it’s more than a little strange to uproot the family for a semester for no specific reason. Just for the experience and the adventure, I say, and then I see them imagining themselves doing the same … and sort of shaking their heads. But I’ve spent the last few years encouraging women to make the unconventional choice, so it seems fitting that I should jump in the boat myself, right?

So what’s been exciting? The cross-country journey.

Route 66

So much easier than I expected, and so many memories. The Grand Canyon was a highlight, and the kids keep talking about the visits with family and friends in Ohio, Louisiana, and Phoenix.

John and boys at Mama Dot’s farm in Louisiana

When we finally pulled up in La Jolla, G kept repeating, “I just can’t believe we made it.” We did it — and the photos and memories will last a lifetime.

And the weather’s been a huge boost, of course. Every morning I get emails about the snow delays at home, and I look out at the palm trees and sunshine and can’t help but smile. I’ve been running alongside the Pacific some mornings and even though I detest running, I can’t help but feel good when I stare out into the waves.

San Diego and La Jolla both have so much to offer, and we’ve been trying to take advantage of it all. So far, we’ve spent a good amount of time exploring everything that’s within walking distance … La Jolla Cove, Windansea Beach, the chic town, the recreation center and libraries. We’ve also made it to Balboa Park and Seaport Village; G and I took a “floating lab” boat out into the bay for a field trip last week.

But it’s been hard, too — really hard some days. John is suffering from a bruised rib sustained during one of our surfing attempts, and I had that nasty virus for the first week we were here. Moreover, the kids are feeling more cabin fever than ever in our tiny little beach house. They’re picking at each other and tearing up and somewhat unsettled. H cries for the teacher he left back in West Virginia when he’s tired at night. It’s a little bit heartbreaking.

Boys at the canyon

But I see what they’re gaining, too. G fit right in with his new classmates, and he’s told me that he realizes now that he could get by almost anywhere. He’s excited to start on a new baseball team this week, and he’s enjoyed all of the outdoor time that we couldn’t have gotten at home. H has launched a somewhat lucrative lemonade stand, and he loves taking his earnings to the weekly farmer’s market at his school, where he typically buys more lemons, kettle corn, and these cookies that I would devour if I hadn’t given up sugar.

So I’m not sure where that leaves me. Many days, I’m exhilarated by the adventure, pleased with the progress I’m making on my work, and generally astonished that we pulled this off. Some, I just want to pack the kids back into the Honda and start driving east.

Somehow, I have confidence that the hope’s going to float up soon.

What have you done lately to pull yourself out of your comfort zone?  




  1. I am out of my comfort zone with The Gay Dad Project. All I know is I am doing something totally new, totally not me—getting in the spotlight, putting myself out there, being totally vulnerable, gutting myself. Memories coming back, some good, some bad. All because I want to help other kids. But it’s hard work and I’ve never made a documentary, I’ve never run a fundraiser, I’ve never written a book. I am a fish out of water. I’m terrified. But there’s nothing to do but keep going.

    I loved this. Thank you. Tears and all.
    erin margolin recently posted..A Moment With Abby About Being Gay

  2. Few experiences that matter most to us in our life are without challenge. If everything were perfect about that experience we’d be unable to appreciate the gift of that experience. The most amazing people in the world, in our lives, may talk about extraordinary experience and leave out the difficult parts. But in learning more, we realize that perfection rarely exists in moments that shape us.
    Sara at Saving For Someday recently posted..What’s Another Word For Advocate?

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