This week, I am coming back from vacation with my family. Though I may travel often with my job, it is a very rare occasion that I can share the world beyond my little community with my family. Last week, I had a chance to share a little piece of the traveling experience with those I love. I was able to experience the excitement of my children discovering new things, exploring a world they haven’t seen outside of the movies, and seeing a part of the world through their eyes. For those that have had the opportunity to travel with your children, you can understand the balance of excitement and stress. For those that haven’t had the chance; let me explain.
If anyone has ever tried to get a group of people together to do any activity, you know that there is a lot of planning, coordinating, and double-checking your list. You have to balance everyone’s needs, personalities, and level of understanding. This process starts weeks before the vacation. I watched my wife go through a daily juggling act of looking for interesting places, fascinating sights to see and must-do things. She attempted to have balance and include things our youngest would like, our oldest would like, and what we wanted to do. She purchased the tickets for events and planned out how much time we needed between things, all the while, leaving things open for the free-flow exploration. Once the trip begins, it is a juggling act of corralling the group, answering the millions of requests from the children (most of the answers are “no”), and all the while attempting to relax and enjoy the moment.
Then the moment happens
The excitement of the trip becomes infectious as the children look around in awe of the new world they are experiencing. Their heads snap from left to right to catch all the new sights like a rubber-necker passing a fender bender. The stress flows out of you with each laugh and comment from the children as you explain the things around them and what is planned. The parental bonds with the children start to reconnect with each passing moment, as do the sibling connection at the shared experience. Forgotten are the tasks for work and the bills to pay. The only thing that matters is continuing this very moment for as long as you can. In that instant, you understand the rewards of the labor in preparing for the trip.
Reaching over and taking my daughter’s hand in mine, we wander through the avenues of skyscrapers as a family and work our way towards each new adventure. Laughter becomes the family’s constant companion as we incorporate our inside jokes to the world around us. We see the new city in a way the natives have long forgotten. Museums, parks, and tourist events are the goals we seek and find with every turn.
At the end of the first day, with legs aching from the exertion, my wife and I enjoy a drink as the kids wander off to look over the lake. I feel my wife’s hand in mine as we relax and watch the children marvel at the sight. I see my son reach down and pat his sister on the shoulder as he explains something to her. She looks up at him and smiles. This is what a family vacation is meant to be.
Until next time…