Today I sent my son off to New York City on a 5 day bus tour with the 7th and 8th graders from his school who were able to come up with the hundreds of dollars the trip required. I don't know where my son got the money...I didn't contribute, other than a disposable rain poncho to keep in his pocket and some snacks for the trip.
I was thinking after I dropped him off about how it was almost 9 years ago that we went on our last "Family Vacation" (not counting the Thanksgiving trip we all made to Texas this year to visit ALL my immediate family). It was after my divorce, but my ex-husband, the kids and I went to Chattanooga, and we went to the Aquarium, Rock City, and Ruby Falls. I don't remember if we spent the night...but I think we must have. It was a very nice trip. I am sure it was no more than 1/3 the cost of what my son's NYC trip cost.
The summer before I went into 5th grade, my family took a road trip to Washington D.C. I guess at that time there were 5 of us kids, including my baby sister, who was 7 months old. Elvis died while we were on the trip, so that made it extra memorable (August 1977). It was a long, but pleasant family trip. We went to the Smithsonian and the Capitol and most of the "touristy" places. My father is a preacher and we had a big family so we never had a lot of money. I liked that this was something exciting that the whole family did together. I am sure it would have been nice if we had had more money and time to spend, but it was good.
Road trips are a really nice way to get the whole family in on a conversation. That was back in the day when we had supper as a family every night, which I think is very important in keeping families "connected" . Shared experiences are important.
Anyway, I just feel a little sad because my daughter wanted to go to NYC and she is disappointed that her brother is going and she is not. I am disappointed that we are not all going together. I think it is a trip the whole family can enjoy. I personally don't have the money or a car I can trust to make that kind of trip.
I have always been actively involved in my children's lives...we have always gone places and done things together here around Nashville. There are many parks and lakes and places to explore. There is never a shortage of things to do, but now that I have 2 teenagers PLUS a 3 year old, sometimes it is challenging to get our interests and schedules all together.
Why are 7th and 8th graders making these vacations with OTHER people? Why not with their families??? Who are the most important people in our lives? I kind of equate this to (if I had a husband) my husband going on a fishing trip with his work friends. Maybe "normal" people take family vacations every year. Maybe I need to get creative and do more planning for shared experiences with my family.
My 3 year old would love to go to the beach. She keeps asking to go. I would love for her father and she and I to go to the beach for a few days. I would love for my older 2 kids to go, too. About 11 years ago my ex-husband and I went by car to Orange Beach (Alabama??) with the kids. We also went with some friends, which I think ended up making the trip less satisfactory than it would have been if our family had gone and focused on our time shared only with each other.
I would also love to visit Turkey with my little one and her father. I would love to meet her grandparents and other family members. I imagine a month in Turkey would be a very rich and rewarding family and cultural and educational experience. I don't think my older children would have any interest in that trip at this point, but I would treasure so much making those special memories with my little one.
In these days when my teenagers are pulling so much away from me....seems like they are always off doing their own thing and even in the car it is hard to engage them in conversation....it is important to plan activities to pull us back together. Something to work on. And this summer, when we all have more "down time", I would like for us to do some fun and exciting things together. My little one gets the bulk of my attention, it seems, but I guess that is appropriate because of her age and stage being so different from her brother and sister.