We are finally at a place where we can travel together as a family and actually call it a vacation. The kids are fine on a plane with a bag of candy and a couple of devices. We can get a home on VRBO and Ramona and Sylvie can share a room, while Jesse and I can have our own. (Netflix, baby!) Meals are easier when we go out. Bedtime is flexible. The kids can swim. It’s pretty dreamy, actually.
Travel is my jam. I don’t care what kind of car I drive or how big my house is. I don’t care if my dinner plates match or even if I get my roots done every 6 weeks. But travel is an actual necessity. I can’t live without it. I really can’t. For awhile it was tough, I won’t lie. We had to find someone to stay with the girls while we went away. I couldn’t actually be present wherever I was, because my heart was at home with my kids. If we did bring our kids, we had to bring a nanny so that we could actually enjoy our vacation and that was breaking the bank. But we’ve arrived. Traveling together works now. We have fun, and we are making memories.
When I was growing up, my parents used to load all of us four kids into a big Econo-van every Thanksgiving and drive to Arkansas. WE WOULD DRIVE. This wasn’t just when I was little, either. This went on through my college years. But in all seriousness, these are some of my best memories as a kid. Stopping at gas stations every 4 hours and loading up on junk food, sleeping in the car, fighting over the game boy–these were the times when I would actually be forced to be with my family for hours at a time. And that was just the drive. When we would actually get to Arkansas we would be bored out of our minds, so we would have to find things to do. Me and my brothers would go on long walks together or my sister and I would go to Walmart (which was always a highlight of our trip, might I add). It wasn’t fancy hotels or trips to amusement parks that I loved. It was the time together–the memories made. Collective mindfulness, if you will. It was rich.
I want my kids to have this. I want their memories of our time together to go beyond our backyard. I want them to appreciate our vacations even if it’s just ordering pizza and sitting in a hot tub or sharing a can of coke in a HOJO. I don’t have forever with these girls. In 15 years, there won’t be family vacations like these. Ramona and Sylvie will be taking their own spring breaks or God forbid, trips with their boyfriends. Their priorities will be different and Jesse and I will yearn for the days when we could just hole up in some house in some random state and simply be together–just a good vacation from the hamster wheel.