I was scrolling through Facebook when an article caught my eye. “Take the Trip," the headline screamed with excitement. As I read the story about the importance of taking trips with your family, I found myself exhaling in frustration. It’s the parenting advice I keep seeing splashed across social media. And while I’d love to take that trip with my family, unfortunately it’s not realistic for so many of us.
My husband and I have talked a lot about family vacations. Truth be told, we have never been able to sneak a weekend away since our children were born. That’s 6+ years for anyone counting. We’ve made a few trips to visit our friends, and we’ve traded turns watching our kids while the other gets a much-needed weekend away with the girlfriends or the guys.
But honestly, we can’t afford to take the trip you so often read about. After giving birth to triplets prematurely and losing two of children, the dream of a big vacation faded in the distance. After 10+ surgeries in 10 years, any of our extra money goes to paying tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Not to mention that our families live nowhere near us, so our frequent flier miles and vacations are often spent visiting our extended family.
That doesn’t leave any time or money for taking a trip to Disney World, or Yellowstone, or a cruise. I’d be lying if I didn’t get jealous of those who travel around the world with their family. How do families afford a week or two at Disney?!? And yep, there is guilt when I see pictures of trip after trip on social media, knowing that my family won’t be planning a dream vacation for years, if ever.
Sure, we’d love to “take the trip”. But, for those of us who can’t make that a reality, we find other ways to create those special memories with our family. It’s moments of bonding in between the chaos of everyday life. It’s spending those few extra minutes of the day cuddled around our children, listening to our daughter read.
It’s celebrating a perfect report card with a giant ice scream sundae. It’s running and cheering alongside our child as she learns to ride her bike without training wheels.
It’s spending the weekend at home in pajamas, laughing and shouting as we spend the day playing
It’s hours spent in the backyard on a summer day; the sprinkler going, the music blaring, and the giggles plentiful as our child tumbles down the giant inflatable water slide.
It’s taking our child to a local museum and watching her excitement when she spots our 16th president. It’s teaching our children how to make a difference in our community, by volunteering our time at the foodbank or other charities. It’s being present in our child’s life, whether that’s being a volunteer at school or cheering her on at gymnastics.
It’s bringing home our newborn baby and watching our girls interact for the first time, excited to see their friendship unfold before our eyes. As the years go by, these are the memories we’ll hang onto.
As I look back at pictures, we may not be standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, and we may not be swimming with the dolphins. But you know what? Those pictures of running through the sprinkles or dancing in pajamas with the family can be just as special. Sure, a trip would be nice. But here’s something we all should remind ourselves -- sometimes the most mundane moments create the most magical memories.
Maybe my family will someday “take the trip”. Maybe we won’t. It’s something I’ve learned not to fret about. There are plenty of special moments unfolding in our lives every single day. Don’t overlook what’s right in front of you.