Family trips and I have a thing.
Sort of like a war and peace kind of relationship.
I can't say no to the idea of the escape. I dream of the trip. I'm like a detective searching out new places to go and unique places to stay. I plan and I plot and I scheme...
Then, just before the trip I remember the packing to get there, the crowded travel, the close sleeping quarters....and then...BOOM. I panic.
I'll simply say -- It's. Not. Pretty.
Inevitably -- we make it to the car -- all packed, the house clean (I'm a nut about leaving it that way), arrangements made for the animals we keep bringing home. By the time I get in the vehicle, Cowboy and I barely speaking, the kids are shifting uncomfortably in silence and the whole time I'm reprimanding myself for dreaming up the crazy idea in the first place. Will I EVER learn???
It usually takes about 30 miles down the road when I mumble I'm sorry for my manic ways and he says I'm sorry I didn't help and the kids breathe a sigh of relief that it's actually OK to show they're excited for the trip. Then it starts. Hour by hour I remember why the monumental act of taking a trip is SO WORTH IT!
1. Because in the car -- they sit close to one another. They touch and share snacks and once they are certain it's safe -- they even talk to us. They learn patience. They learn anticipation.
2. When you get there -- the excitement is contagious! From the beach to a roadside park...from Disney to the local zoo -- they never disappoint. They are ecstatic and investigate every detail.
3. The pictures. I remember in years past that it's always hard to find a picture of kids with their mother. Mom's are always taking the pictures. With this in mind -- I try to sneak in a selfie with each of the kids on the trip.
4. Play time. Our kids are SO MUCH fun. Uno, card games, bags, or a rock-throwing contest. They love to play games. We don't take enough time to do it and a trip is a great time to make up for it!
5. Silliness. I'm kind of boring but when we are on a getaway I try to let loose and let them enjoy every ounce of humor and creativity God has blessed them with. I know from my own childhood that hours of homework and getting groceries will be a blur but hilarious stunts and inside jokes from family road trips will forever be remembered.
6. The days just last longer when you getaway. When you have nothing to do but look around and enjoy your family. No rush. No fuss.
7. Discovery. From fish hatcheries to learning about the rings on trees -- there's always something to explore. It seems like we just take time to see more when we are away. Sometimes we even learn more about each other.
Especially when the boat you rent dies in the middle of the lake. That's a story for another day.
So go ahead. Take that trip. Make the sacrifice.
Be creative. Just go.