Yesterday I got up at 4AM and headed to Brandon’s. He was taking me to the airport, so I could come to California for a family reunion and to spend some time with friends that had moved away at various points. Dave, Angela, Jordyn and Nyrie in Santa Barbara and Mike in the bay area. My flight left at 7AM and landed right on time. I picked up my rental car and typed the address of my hotel in Goleta into the Navigon GPS app I downloaded for the iPhone. Mounted the iPhone on the window and away I went.
About an hour into my journey, Dave called and asked if I would pick Jordyn & Nyrie up at school as they wanted to spend the day with me and show me around Santa Barbara. Here’s where I have an admission to make. I was terrified. I’ve known Jordyn & Nyrie literally all their lives. I held Jordyn, my goddaughter literally hours after she was born. We’re NOT strangers. But I have to admit, kids frighten me. I just don’t know how to interact with them. Dave had asked me earlier via e-mail the same question, if I would pick them up at school and I just pretended like I didn’t even see it. And now, with him on the phone, I kind of stammered “Uhhh, I don’t know if I’m going to be there in time to get them, what do they normally do after school?” Hoping that would be fun enough that the prospect of hanging out with me wouldn’t seem nearly as cool. “Oh they either go to the after-care program or hang out in the library and read” . . . Crap. “OK, let me call you when I’m done eating and I’ll let you know when I’ll be there and we’ll see what happens”.
I spent the next 30 minutes eating and screwing up my confidence enough to hang out with two kids for 3 hours. What would we do? What would we talk about? How do I keep from swearing for 3 hours? Is the music on my iPod appropriate for children? AUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH!! Finally I said “Look John, these are kids that actually LIKE you. You can do this, it’s ONLY 3 hours.” So on the road again, I called Dave and recited the address of their school that I had Google mapped and put into Navigon. He said “Yep that’s it” I said “OK, I should be there around 1”. So for the next 45 minutes, I gently talked myself into being able to do this.
When I arrived at the school, I wondered what people would say to a strange guy looking for two girls. Surprisingly they pointed me in the right direction. As I was wandering around I heard “JOHNNNNNNN!!!” and two of the cutest girls came up and gave me a big hug! Awesome. So I asked them what they wanted to do and they replied “I dunno” and I again asked, “OK, what do you LIKE to do?” and they replied in unison “Read”. Uh-oh . . . but then Nyrie casually pointed out that that wouldn’t likely be much fun for everyone so we decided to head to the Mission and we were off.
First they took me to the Rose Garden in front of the Santa Barbara Mission. I watched as the two girls taunted each other with rose petals. Not slugs, or dirt, or the other horrible things that sisters usually do to each other, but rose petals. We wandered around the mission for a bit, then it was off to Ice Cream. I told them to order whatever they wanted as long as it wouldn’t get me in trouble with their parents. We had a grand time sharing ice cream. After that, we headed back to their house so Jordyn could drop off her cello. I got to meet the new members of the family, most notably the new dog Jasper, the new cat (forget the name, sorry Nyrie!) and the chickens. Next up, it was off to the hotel so I could check in. I changed into some shorts and told the girls I wanted to see the beach. We headed for Goleta beach and after some creative navigation from Nyrie, we arrived where we connected with Dave.
It was great to see my old friend again. It really looks like he’s been settling into California life! I told him how impressed I was with his girls. I really am blown away by how smart they are! We went back to their house and when Angela got home, we went to “downtown” Santa Barbara for dinner at the Paradise Cafe. We got all caught up on all the happenings in our life. Back at the house, the girls showed me some new tunes on the Violin and Cello and we just all relaxed. We talked about the Waldorf education that the girls were receiving. I had to admit finally to Dave & Ang that when they told me about the Waldorf school many years ago when Jordyn and Nyrie started, I thought it was some “Hippie Crack Pot” thing they were doing, but after spending a day with these two amazing girls, I had to admit, this was probably a FAR superior education to the one I got when I was their age. I’m really impressed by these two girls (if I haven’t mentioned it already) and I’m SUPER proud of my two friends for being the amazing parents they are TO these two girls.
I tell you what, after spending 5 minutes with Jordyn & Nyrie, they really put me at ease. I didn’t have to worry about what to say or what we were going to do, the only thing that mattered to them was that we got to say it and do it with each other, and to me . . . . that was just perfect. Girls, I had an AMAZING day with you and I can’t wait to see where you go in the future. Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of your lives . . . you’re incredible, I love you! Dave & Ang, I love you guys so much and you really are fantastic parents. Not that there was ever any doubt, but I’ve been super blessed to have you in my life and I can’t wait until we get to hang out again.