Urban Dweller: A Family Vacation

The Next Family

By: Danny Thomas

I am writing this blog on the 6th day of a 14-day family vacation.

I spent most of July packing and moving our family across town… and finished that project just in time to pack and load our family into a car for a 4-hour drive to Minneapolis. Then loaded them all onto a plane for a 3-hour flight and another 5-hour drive from Seattle to Eugene, Oregon. Tomorrow we drive back to Seattle.

I feel like every part of this vacation, literally moment by moment, has been a profusion of mixed blessings…

We have experienced so much fortune, so much joy in our togetherness, and so much kindness and generosity from the friends and loved ones we’ve been able to visit…

We have also driven each other batty and tested the limits of each other’s patience and flexibility, and we are not even half way!

The visit to Eugene has been bittersweet; we lived here for seven years, had two kids here, bought a house, built some incredible relationships and friendships, and laid down a lot of roots – revisiting that is hard for a number of reasons, we can’t recapture it, none of us wants to leave, and yet we feel solidly that we have moved on… that we have made a home in our new place – we feel comfortable and happy in Fargo-Moorhead.

There is no way to do all the things we want to do, or see all the people we want to see in the time we have here. I know many many people who, when returning to a past home, have experienced this very same thing.

I am trying to figure out what to learn from this, what to take away…

One of the themes, for me, of parenting, of life, has been the idea of adjusted expectations, I’ve written about it before – heck, in some ways I’m writing about it all the time.

Vacation with a family is, in many ways, hyper-family time, and for those of us stay at home parents it is not a break, per se. So it becomes an incredible exercise in adjusted expectations.

If you think of vacation as time with your feet up, or lying poolside sipping margaritas, or even hiking through the woods restoring your mind and soul, communing with nature and exploring… well all of those things can happen on a family vacation, but family vacation is different from that.

And once again I find myself thinking of my parents and my experiences growing up and, once again my respect and admiration for them grows exponentially, along with my gratitude for the experiences they provided for my brother and me.

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