936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
It had been three years since we last saw a movie in the theatre together. My husband and I sat side-by-side, the kids playing board games at home with a dear friend who had arrived at our door, told us “Go, leave, have fun!”.
I was entranced from the very first scene of the film. Massive caterpillar wheels inched across the pavement carrying Apollo Eleven, over five million pounds of metal, tubes, valves, computers, about to lift off into the heavens. I watched, along with the world of 1969.
A few scenes later, with the countdown at a few hours from liftoff, cameras panned over strips of grass along Merritt Island, Florida. My father had driven me past there once, pointing to the Kennedy Space Station. He talked with nostalgia from his boyhood memories of space exploration’s beginnings. Now, in this real footage from Apollo’s morning, thousands of travelers setup camp to watch the launch of the first voyage to the moon. Families lounged in chairs, or on blankets in the grass, or on car tops, waiting.
It took me right back to our own bayside waiting, two years before this date night, forty-eight years after the scene unfolding on the screen. My family, too, had waited outside of our travel trailer for a cosmic anomaly. That morning my husband and I, along with our three young boys, and our daughter tucked within my womb, witnessed the Total Solar Eclipse of 2017. For one minute and forty-five seconds, the morning around us dipped to black, a star-spotted sky just after breakfast. In that sky, jet trails zig-zagged rebelliously to give passengers a better view. Seagulls flew aimless and chaotic in the false night sky. Sea lions barked their confusion down at the docks. Our breath held at this magnificent sight that our children might never witness again. We had driven over twelve hundred miles in three days to catch it. I wondered now, watching that real footage of families waiting for Apollo to rise, how many long miles they had logged on the road to get there.
Throughout each scene of the film, as the true story of man’s first moon landing unfolded, another story kept circling back around in my mind. I pictured my father, standing behind a podium, sharing his own story of Apollo Eleven. He talked about being a nine-year-old boy, following my grandfather in a field near where they lived in Chicago. Grandpa held a radio, and they were fighting for a signal. The noise crackled, then filled, then broke again. Finally they stepped into a bubble of clarity, and held their position.
“200 feet… 100 feet… 75 feet… 60 seconds… 40 feet… contact light… engine stop. We copy you down Eagle… Houston, Tranquility base here. The Eagle has landed.”
My dad stood next to his own father absorbing the moment. And now he told that story, forty-two years later, again standing next to his father, but this time in a casket.
What I remember from the eulogy my dad gave at Grandpa’s funeral is the cracking of his voice when he shared that story. The magnitude of his father sharing that moment with him.
Buzz Aldrin, the lunar module pilot of Apollo Eleven, and the only other man to set foot on the moon during that mission, said this in their final broadcast from space, before they re-entered earth’s atmosphere:
“This has been far more than three men on a mission to the Moon; more still than the efforts of a government and industry team; more, even, than the efforts of one nation. We feel this stands as a symbol of the insatiable curiosity of all mankind to explore the unknown.”
This is what my grandfather was sowing into my dad in that field – an insatiable curiosity. An innate and compelling force to go and discover God’s handiwork. This, too, is what my father, along with my mother, sowed into me as a child. As we traveled the United States, packed into a minivan with my parents, brother, sister, and at times our cat. And later, in high school, as they allowed me to travel to four different continents. They tucked an insatiable curiosity within my heart that would shape the course of my life. It wouldn’t stop with me.
What began as my grandfather’s efforts with his son carried over half a century later, to a family of five-going-on-six standing on a hilltop in Newport, Oregon, watching that very same moon as it took center stage in front of the sun. Forty-eight years of insatiable curiosity taking root in the hearts of my own boys. Curiosity is legacy material. When we bring our children before the magnificent, mysterious world God has made, when we allow them to answer their own questions with more questions, it sparks something sacred in their heart. Something shifting. Something unworldly. Something eternal. Something bound to carry over and fold into generations after them.
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!