One of the things I miss the most when I was raising my two young sons, was the “time outs” they gave me. It’s the same kind of the same time-outs as walking a dog. She stops and sniffs and chews and explores everything in front of her nose. The walk is more a start-stop-start and sometimes I find myself yanking her to hurry along. I’ve got things to do! But, in the end, she slows me down and ultimately that’s exactly what I needed in the first place.

And that’s what I miss. My little boys—now grown men—helped me to see life up-close, to discover the fascination that was always there inches from their point of view. I was forced to stop and look at the something beyond a small pointed finger, or a wide-eyed gaze. We looked at them together—from worms to bugs, to snakes, lizards, yukky things and gorgeous ones that only “wow” could describe. A full moon, a brilliant-colored sky, puffy clouds reflected in welcoming mud puddles. We looked at them together and I’m richer today for those delicious, long-ago “time outs” stopping to share such simple wonders. Now, even though I have a passion for all that nature teaches me, it’s sitting with a child and looking at it that helps me appreciate it even more, once again.

So it was recently with my beautiful grandchild, Kaio, at Joshua Tree Oasis—the most perfect, nature retreat in the world. Kaio is two-and-a half years old and has given me the joy and privilege of delighting in a whole new generation of “time outs”—the chance to witness life through a child’s perspective. Kaio and I followed lizards up and down rocks. We mourned over a squished something. Watched in amazement as a determined, little bug climbed ever so slowly up a bumpy wall and then, just when it seemed to reach its destination, plummeted to the ground. “Oh no,” Kaio gasped. But the bug wasn’t discouraged. This bug had chutzpah. Perseverance. Do bugs have cajones? This one surely did. Because, undaunted, the little guy continued its climb up that same, bumpy wall straight up “…to infinity and beyond!” That was definitely a “Buzz Lightyear” bug.

Ah, what fun we have together at Joshua Tree Oasis, Kaio and I. There’s nothing but nature to entertain us endlessly. We stop and listen to the roar of peace and silence. “What do you hear, Kaio?” And he answers back turning his head this way and then that way. He hears the wind. And a plane high above. And birds calling to each other. And the sound of our feet along the dirt paths. We listen and we look and laugh and point and shout and the silence of peace answers us back.

I understand now why so many families love it at Joshua Tree Oasis. This is the perfect vacation retreat to “time out” together. For older kids and teens to climb the mountainous surrounding boulders and take long hikes through cacti-filled landscapes. To grab binoculars and cameras and point and shoot and see real life up real close. To play board games at night or read books together—or quietly off by themselves. To write. To dream. To unwind. To barbeque and cook and bake together and then share family meals and conversations in front of the crackling fireplace. To celebrate the joy of being a family. Or simply to learn the lesson of tenacity from a tiny bug. It’s all possible at Joshua Tree Oasis.

– Cara Wilson-Granat