My family is all in bed. Shauna is fading or faded beside me, Glory is breathing deeply on a mat on the floor, and Noah and Joel are wrestling with covers on the other Queen to my right. The air conditioner is working overtime. This is San Diego, a Day’s Inn.

We’ve careened along the Oregon Coast, pounded the Dunes, craned our necks at the Humboldt Redwoods. We’ve tasted Fisherman’s wharf and spied Alcatraz. We’ve hugged relatives, sucked back peaches like we’ve never had one before (I’m not sure what we get in Calgary… they’re called peaches, but now I’m sure they’re something else entirely). We’ve hugged Minnie Mouse, braved Indiana Jones, and took the Special Effects tour at Universal. We’ve had magical beach days, and even spent an evening with new friends that I miss already. And Shamu put on a whale of a show a few hours ago. We’ve done it all, I tell ya.

And now it’s quiet. My kids are dreaming. Of what, I wonder? Of me snapping at them in the muggy heat at Sea World today? Of Dolphins dancing to music? Of Redwoods towering and creaking? Of the thrashing green waves at Laguna Beach? Of the long car rides, of their beach treasures, of the souveniers they’ve accumulated? Of whudda-bumping roller coasters, cotton candy, pools, and pizza? Of picnics, tenting, rivers, and God’s creation?

What have I put there, in those impressionable little minds? Cause that’s the point, you see. Not the stuff, not the miles, not the coasters. The memories. The love, the time together. Cindy Morgan has a song with a line that says that the most valuable possessions we have are the memories we make along the way.

I’m a very rich man. But now it’s time to press the “publish post” button, close my laptop, put it on the bedside table, and cuddle my wife.

And dream my own dreams.