(photo courtesy of Megan in March 2009)
I'm not much of a traveler. Having five children, a limited budget, a slight anxiety with flights and long drives, and a husband who for years has had limited vacation days, has caused us to not put vacations at the top of our priority list.
Of course, it isn't like we haven't ever traveled or done trips, but they are fairly limited. In December at our annual tithing settlement with our Bishop, (In our church, at the end of each year, we are given the opportunity to make a personal declaration to the head of our clergy of our payment of donations.) our Bishop gave us a challenge to take a vacation as a family. He continued on about the wonderful bonding experience it can be, etc. (He obviously doesn't have five young children...;) ) Mike and I certainly hope before 2011 is over, we can take the Bishop up on his challenge.
BUT, half of us around here, are going on a trip. (Which case in point-a 'trip' and a 'vacation' to me are very, very different. Last year, when Mike and I went to Tucson, AZ, that was a vacation. Twelve hour drives to Phoenix, or a week in a hotel with young kids is not so much a vacation, they are trips!) Actually, is a vacation even possible with kids?
Okay, I digress- half of us are going on a trip. Mike's parents serving a mission in one of my mother-in-laws favorite places in the world (and she has seen the majority of the world!) have graciously invited some of us to come and visit them.
As you read this, Megan, Luke and I will be en route to Washington DC. We will be traveling with Mike's sister and her daughter. Luke and I are the only ones in the group that have never visited DC before. We have spent the last few weeks studying up on history and people and places so that we aren't completely ill-informed tourists. Bless Luke's little heart, his enthusiasm and desire to check out books from school and/or recognize any news story or wording of anything remotely connected has really been endearing. But sometimes, despite my best intentions, the to-do list has taken higher priority than US history study time.
As I mentioned before, the trip has certainly not come without some anxiety, and of course much preparation. Anxiety of flying (pray for me!), and preparing three children's schedules to be where and when so Mike can work, making sure preparations are made for the Easter Bunny to be able to come next Easter Sunday, etc. etc. (Don't remind me that I'm going to be away from home on my very favorite holiday!) I will miss Easter at home as a family, and I'll miss spending my 14th wedding anniversary with Mike, and I will desperately miss Ellie, Joshua, Drew and Mike.
But most of all, I'm praying and I'm hoping I don't miss the falling out of Ellie's first tooth. It's wobbly, but didn't quite get loose enough to fall out before I left. It's like last year when I went to Tucson for three days, I worried Drew would start walking while I was gone. (He didn't!)
I hardly ever travel. I'm hardly ever gone from home.
So why, oh why, when I take my few trips and/or vacations do I have to worry about such things as babies walking and teeth falling out?
Oh, it's because I'm a mother.
And that is something ONLY a mother would understand.
Keep your fingers crossed.