In her book, “The Shelter of Each Other – Rebuilding Our Families,” Mary Pipher says that, as adults, people remember three kinds of family events with great pleasure – meals, vacations and time spent outdoors with their families.
This is certainly true for us. Not the meals part – as it is really hard to come up with a meal (other than cake and ice cream) that pleases everyone – but vacations in nature are some of our best memories. When we are away, the kids
tolerate get along with each other and even end up having fun with each other because there are no better alternatives around. (They also get to bond over complaining about whatever I am making them do.) When we are in nature, we are not separated by electronic distractions, friends, or the very seductive illusion that we can get everything done and then relax. We have to just be where we are and make do with what we have.
Trying to relax and accommodate each person’s needs can drive me a little nuts. Being away together is a more intense, concentrated version of being at home together, so I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise when I find myself frustrated with…
…a need for creative expression,
or an adamant opinion about what is acceptable footwear for 30 degree weather,
or each person’s unique sense of style.
Mary Pipher says that being in nature makes us feel small, yet reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves. Being a part of a family definitely makes me feel small
when I lose my temper at times, yet part of something bigger. For all of their moaning and groaning about family adventures, I am helping us make memories with the time we have together, which is a rarer and rarer commodity as the kids get older.
It is a lot of work to make adventures happen and they don’t always turn out the way I had hoped, but I think I might be the only one in the family who realizes it won’t be like this forever, so I keep at it.
What is your favorite family vacation? I always love to hear what has worked for other people!