I love to travel. I always have. When Mike and I first got married we wanted to travel and see the world but we had two minor obstacles. We had no money and we had no time off from work. At that time Mike was managing his family business and working as a manager at UPS and I was helping to manage two family businesses as well. Getting time off from UPS was not the problem but taking time off from your family businesses.... not so much. What's more is that all the businesses were in their start up stages and if you've ever started a business or know someone who has, you know that at the end of the week there's not much money left over to pay the owners. And so it was.
We had big dreams even back then. We were young and we were eager to work hard for our vision. So as most of our friends worked corporate jobs and took time off whenever they wanted we were home-bound with the occasional trip to Wisconsin Dells, WI or Bandson, MO.
Then we had an idea... Let's have kids! I figured we can't really travel anyway so why not get the kid thing going and by the time our businesses take off we will have perfectly mature children and the money. We will finally see the world like we've always dreamed.
Shortly there after Alex was born. We were 26. I was the only person I knew with a baby. Our friends were traveling and going downtown and having fun. I was lonely. Then came Matthew. The next several years are kind of a blur.
Fastforward a few years. We just got back from our Young Living convention. It was a business trip but it was also a family vacation. It's funny how things pan out differently than you ever imagined and somehow exactly how you imagined them. I didn't know back then that I would stumble upon a business that would replace all the others, but we did. And this business sends us on trips and we usually combine them and turn them into family vacations. So now we travel just like we had always wanted.
The thing is though, the family vacation can be tricky. Before I had children I didn't realize that having children would change the dynamics of travel as much as it does. It's almost like the anticipation and the excitement turns everyone into a bundle of stress (yes I've got oils for that but stillll) top that with four very big personalities that all want to get their way and, let just say I am tested to my brink every single time.
Also, I have now developed a fear of flying! God sure does play some practical jokes on me. I was never afraid of flying before, and then it's like God said, I will give you the means and the vehicle so that you can go anywhere you want but just for fun I will also instill deathly anxiety every time you set foot in an airplane!
So this trip was like the others. It brought out the worst in us. And then we posed and smiled and took beautiful pictures. We cuddled on a mountain top as we watched the sunset, and somehow it brought out the best in us. At the end of the day I am so thankful for these family vacations, for these memories that my children will have forever. I know we are on borrowed time with these boys. I know that we only have a few sweet years left and then, poof, they will be gone. All we will have are the pictures and the memories. We probably won't remember the turbulence, the anxiety, the meltdowns, or the screaming (that would be me, - I'm usually the one screaming), but we will remember the way we loved one another, the way we felt safe together, how everything was just right in the world when we were venturing out, the four us with nothing but a suitcase (or three) and the never ending awe of our mother earth and the desire to step through all her secret splendors.
Also, because, the foundation for a strong family is a strong marriage, we may or may not be taking an adults only trip to New Orleans next week. It's for the children really. We got the trip from an auction for the school. That's the only reason why we are doing it. For the good of the children. ;)