As we embarked upon this journey of family travel blogging, I envisioned writing about things to do and places to see. I thought the blog would be something of a guide. But as we enjoy our first true family vacation, I realize that what is important is not just what you do and see. The small moments, and all of the firsts are what makes it meaningful. Being a parent can be trying and tiring but there are so many joys too. One of those joys is seeing things through the eyes of your children. That can mean having the unique opportunity to experience something again for the first time. This is what travel gives our children, the awe of first-time experiences.
Awe & Delight of First Time Experiences
This week I was lucky enough to watch our kids shout with delight as they ran away from incoming ocean waves for the first time.
I beamed as I heard their exclamation of joy at recognizing a sand piper for the first time after having seen one on Disney’s “Piper”. And then the exclamation of discovery realizing that is also the bird in the painting above your bed back at the condo.
We had the time to enjoy our youngest, who never sits still. He stood as still and quiet as a statue for several minutes as a fisherman on the pier caught a baby sting ray. The fisherman struggled for several minutes trying to reel in the stingray. Eventually he was able to release it back into the water.
I, along with our kids, experienced for the first time going down to the beach after dark to search for ghost crabs. You could see a bit of fear in the kids’ mannerisms as we set out. They stayed just a little closer to us than usual. Then expressed undulated excitement at actually finding and seeing a ghost crab scamper across the beach to escape the beam of our flashlight.
We visit parks all the time. But it was so exciting for the kids to unexpectedly find one with three-story slides while searching for Island Tree Spirits. That was their discovery and it was joyful.
Family Vacation: Self Discovery & Learning
Our society, and us as parents push so much learning on our kids. They rarely have the opportunity to self direct and self discover. As we headed home on bikes, the request came from them to explore the St Simons Lighthouse. The eldest was so excited to have explored and learned all about the lighthouse. To have seen how the “keeper” lived a hundred years ago was pretty cool. The youngest asked repeatedly to go back to see it with the light on. So far, our eldest says this has been her favorite part of the trip. And, we made it back to see the light on at the lighthouse for the youngest.
Just watching the kids play for hours in the sand and ocean with no cares while I got to listen to the waves crash on the beach brought me peace.
Experiencing new foods brought delight too, and a renewed interest in the Food Network. Our screen time this week has been minimal. Most of it for the kids has been “Chopped” or a similar show on the Food Network.
Family Vacation: Moments to Treasure
These are the moments that I will treasure. These are the experiences that a family vacation is all about. I feel so fortunate that we have had this week. We will continue to explore and travel Colorado and beyond as a family. But this one will always hold many special memories for me.