Usually when we travel together everything runs like a well oiled machine.
If you oiled a 1950’s tractor with urine. We are a very slow moving machine that smells like pee, is what I’m trying to say.
It is a longstanding tradition in my family to create stressful family vacations. My grandpa used to pile us all in a motorhome so that he and my dad could argue over traffic laws for five days straight. I have fond memories of driving down the L.A. freeway in a giant monstrosity of a bus, while people sped by flipping us the bird.
They say that family dinners around the table are very important. I completely agree. Mostly because it’s character building. It’s very important to learn how to feed people that do not want to be fed, while attempting to have meaningful conversation. It’s kind of like highschool math…it’s unclear HOW this is going to help you in your future, but it will.
I guess It teaches patience. At least I’m assuming that’s what it does, it hasn’t worked on me yet, but we are all awaiting this gift with eager expectation.
When traveling it’s easy to focus on the adventures we will have and the things we will see. I dream about the glow worm caves in New Zealand, I envision long hikes up peaks with stunning 360 degree views. I picture the togetherness we will feel around late night campfires.
Also…in those dreams no one has a bad attitude or a headache and someone is playing classical guitar in the background. NBD.
As I’ve travelled with kids I have found, that the adventure is great…but only if we take care of a few basic things first.
Recently I went to a sports bar/pizza place for a friend’s birthday. There was sawdust on the floor, peanuts, and initials carved into the table. I thought, you know who belongs here?
I was right. A week later we brought them. We got a paper tray full of peanuts and my husband instructed everyone that their shells were to be thrown on the floor. I guard the carpet under our kitchen table like a prison warden, so my seven-year-old’s eyes lit up like it was Christmas. His shrill, villainous, laughter could be heard across the bar as he plowed through peanuts just so he could throw the shells to the ground. Graham busted out his pocket knife and my nine-year-old set to work on the table with the prowess of a young Michelangelo.
We are such good parents.
A couple days ago, my precious one looked deep into my eyes, placed her chubby little hand on my cheek and said, “Mom, you don’t have a young face, because you have those lines on it.” That came only a week after she’d watched me get out of the shower and lovingly mentioned my “chubby butt”. I giggled a little, but said, “Moms probably don’t want to be told their bottoms are chubby.”
“But Mom,” she said her brown eyes wide with wonder, “It’s so big and round and you know…wobbles like this,” she said, as she flailed her hands dramatically.
Oh my dear soul…just what I needed. Sign me up for botox. We can use my butt to help my face, it’s a worthy cause…and my butt is happy to donate. Particularly today.
Dear First Born,
I remember the day I first held you in my arms. You became, and I also became. I’d thought about motherhood for a long time, about how I’d be and how you’d be. But I was still so unprepared. Heaven and Earth kissed for a moment and I’d never felt so sure and so uncertain all at the same time.
1.When talking to your kids, try to sound like Mary Poppins, but sweeter and less abrasive.
Friends, we need each other. Live bravely today. Live shamelessly. There are people that will take your invitation. Not only will you find belonging, but most likely you’ll give the gift of it to someone else.
Dear Future World Changer/ Spokeswoman for Human Rights/ Voice-to-be-Reckened-With,
You have fire in your heart, and I can’t wait to see what you do with your passion. Today, screaming. Tomorrow, voice for justice. There are no limits to what you’re capable of. But today, I do have limits. So, please, stop screaming.
Sometimes all the cars break, and the blender breaks, and I get the kids to school an hour late. Sometimes I set the cooking utensils on fire and shatter a $400 window. Sometimes there are surprise tax payments and a son who decides to put beads in his ears.