Hats off to all you parents out there that travel often with your children. I applaud your ability to ignore the fact that you will spend more time packing, unpacking, and doing laundry than you will actually enjoying your “vacation”. These kids of mine operate best on schedules and routines, just like their Mama, and it is hard to venture outside of our baby-gated bubble. Last weekend we braved the unknown and went out of town for a family reunion.
When you travel, the bar for what constitutes “fun” and a success should be set no higher than your tallest child. (This logic will help you greatly on deciding when is the right time to take your kids to Disneyland.) What would have ruined our trip as a family of three was just par for the course as a family of four. Things like not being able to find our Air B and B house; driving deep into the woods for an hour in the wrong direction, when the breadcrumbs known as our GPS signal had been lost and the kids were long overdue for a nap; evident by the octave of their screaming. Or keeping two toddlers alive in a backyard with two Koi ponds, a pool, a 3 foot deck, and a fire pit. And lastly, waking up to our 1 year old projectile puking like the exorcist in our bed at 1 in the morning.
Somehow through a sleep-deprived stupor and the lingering smell of vomit, I was able to recognize the importance of letting the powerful moments in parenting speak louder than the challenging ones. Like having your kids participate in a Halloween costume “parade” you remember doing yourself 25 years ago, which looked more like what would happen if you tried to put socks on a pack of Chihuahuas.
Or watching your children, the fourth generation, feed the very same Koi with their grandpa, that you fed with your grandpa.
Lastly, having your baby snuggle up to her pregnant aunt, your sister, sharing a look that says "my heart knows you"-- as if that image weren’t darling enough, she also happened to be dressed as a strawberry.
I have found that the more you are able to let go of parenting expectations, the more you are able to focus on what truly matters. Sometimes, in order to get there though, you have to travel outside of your comfort zone.