What had started out as something funny - shared with pictures via text message to family members while sharing a Friday morning chuckle, had quickly escalated into an all-out battle of the wills. On the little's side, she had to pack three bags - and a purse. Had to. On my side, initially persuaded by enthusiasm and cuteness, I had previously agreed to the bag plus one small purse. However, by 3:30 PM battered by an assault of whining and coercive tactics throughout the day about the other pieces of luggage I lost it. I took away the purse and endured the fury of a four-year-old fueled by anticipation, desperation, and devastation that no amount of mindful breathing could have eased at that moment. It wasn't just the bags or the fit. It had been the week - the week leading up to vacation.
The endless week of tying up loose ends at work, in addition to preparing in advance for the return work week. Strategizing meal planning with what's in the house as to not leave food to spoil and shopping for the vacation ahead. Cleaning and making arrangements for fur babies, and of course packing, all the while reminding yourself to focus on why you're doing this mad rush. It can be terrible until all the sudden - it's not.
It's a moment that's slightly intoxicating. When you breathe a breath of unfamiliar air. When your eyes are delighted by new colors, structures, and shapes. When everything around you, even if you've been there before, is suddenly anything but home. There are so few moments in our lives that make us feel like a child on Christmas Eve, especially as we age. However, there is something about that moment that takes me back to that very nostalgic excitement - only better because it's mixed with a sense of freedom. Rebellion almost. That's why I do it. Not for the experience or the memories, albeit those are icing on the cake. But, for that moment.
For that's the only moment we're guaranteed on a trip - especially if traveling with children. Often uncertain waters of illness, bickering, or arrangements going array are peppered with laughter, bonding, and moments of peace like little islands of refuge. Arguably, the only other moment we can count on is the moment stepping over the threshold when returning home. When you open the door and the scenes and smells of ordinary life come flooding out. Everything just where you left it, waiting for you to resume your need of it. Welcoming you home. And for a moment, you're perfectly content.
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