My husband and I agreed before having children that traveling, sight-seeing and experiences that showcase the many versions of “normal life” in America and abroad were part of our plan for parenthood. I was fundamentally changed through my trips to Washington DC, Philidelphia and Gettysburg. For my husband, traveling was a key bonding experience he had with his Dad and Step-Mom. Their trips together were carefully planned and thought out, a way to extend the quality time they had together as a family.
One of Not-Kirk’s favorite vacation destinations was Disney World. He was (and still is) a theme park enthusiast. His Dad would bring home books about the parks and they would devour them together, planning and scheming the best possible walking routes to ensure maximum viewage with minimum wait times. He has told me, in great detail, about their shared excitement getting ready for a stay in the New Orleans hotel, making reservations at the drive-in restraunt, etc. The planning was nearly as fun as the going, a tradition that Not-Kirk has taken from his Dad and passed on to our children.
In an exceptionally kind gesture, Not-Kirk’s Dad and Step-Mom gave our family a week’s stay in a condo in Disney World. We want to travel with our kids, but traveling as a single-income family requires incredible amounts of scrimping, saving and planning. Through their generosity we only needed to save for the park tickets and costs of travel, thus our ability to take the kids for an amazing adventure.
Knowing that Disney World was on the horizon the kids have hosted lemonade stands, saved their Birthday and Christmas money, and searched the furniture for loose change. They earned money through extra chores, too, and all told saved over $350 towards the trip. Over the last nine months they have worked with their daddy to plan the entire trip, from what rides they want to see most to what characters they want to engage with. So many nights my husband and I have fallen in bed at the end of the evening invigorated by their excitement.
My goal as a parent is to take my kids on an adventure in at least 25 states before they leave our nest and strike out on their own adventures. I fully intend to cheat and include all the states we live in or go to in order to see our family. At this stage in our lives we have been generously included in vacations with Not-Kirk’s family and have already made some progress on my goal. Here is where the kids have had adventures in so far (in no particular order at all because I can’t choose between chronological and alphabetical):
- Kentucky- Boated inside a cave
- Florida- Disney World
- West Virginia- Visited the state capital
- Missouri- Visited St. Louis
- Illinois- Lived in Chicago
- Michigan- We live here and have gone to all the Detroit museums
- South Carolina- Edisto Island
- Georgia- Visited family
- Indiana- Went to the town French Lick
- Wisconsin- Spent time in the Dells
Twinkle is already 6– 30% of her pre-collegiate life has already passed. I am planning a wild goose-chase of an adventure for next summer, with traveling and adventures in four as yet unseen states, six if I can convince Not-Kirk of the awesomeness of spending two whole weeks traveling.
I am so grateful that my husband’s parents showed him the value of traveling, and so thankful that they understand our travel bug and are generous with their timeshare. I am a fan of lists and order (I made everyone finish packing today when we wont be leaving until Friday) and life-challenges, and they are making it possible for me to reach this important milestone.