You are my Costa Rica.

My always-adventurous, twenty-something cousin is spending some months in Costa Rica this semester. A free spirit in the best sense, she loves cooking organic food from her garden, sewing everything from aprons to ski suits, and has a deep affinity for dogs. A bridesmaid at my wedding and the only daughter to her parents (my godparents), she's a darling girl with a bright future.

I spent a few moments today perusing her latest online photo album from her exotic experience--scenes of lush plant life veiled in drifting fog, snapshots of food I doubt I could pronounce let alone recognize, and sweet pictures of her fellow young travelers.

It's enough to make this stay-at-home mom feel a bit, well, plain. My own decisions in college (ones I certainly do not regret) kept me stateside while friends ventured to Florence and Mazatlan. Even my hubby has been to Europe twice, both for World Youth Days. My older sister went to Oxford for a semester, and came back with a penchant for dark coffee, dark beer and good cigars.

Did I miss out, then? Where's my adventure?

My answer came as Baby J tugged at my jeans. "Up," he asked, and onto my lap he climbed. As I continued flipping through the pictures, he sat on my lap, fascinated by the images.

Then I noticed his reflection on the glossy surface of the laptop screen. His little face was near-perfectly framed by each photo, so that instead of just seeing happy kids in a hammock in the rainforest, I saw two big, green eyes and a little nose too. Instead of seeing just a plate of fried plantains, I saw chubby cheeks and a mouth smeared with pizza sauce.

That kid is my Costa Rica. He's my adventure.

And since he's got a new baby brother or sister on the way next year, I'm remembering to take as much time as I can to treasure his new words, his always-inquisitive hands and feet, his priceless hugs and goodnight snuggles.

A trip around the world, he ain't. But the Lord entrusted all of his exploits, his escapades and his own adventures to me and his dad. And I'm thankful for this journey.