We travelled as children. My siblings and I experienced the United States and took in the grandeur of just about every off-shoot, over-look and obscure this-or-that. Mom had her trip-tik out on her lap and studied that thing as if she had to prove a doctoral thesis. By golly I challenge you to find something we missed along the way. I believe mom and dad felt it necessary that the children grow by experience. I think they wanted their children to have the ability to travel, the desire to see things instead of always staying home, and the need to implant into us that although some family lives in far away places, one can muster the creativity that enables us to see them and experience everything along the way. The wisdom we all have now because we know the things we do, allows each family to join eachother in some beautiful place to camp, we can read maps (well...there are a couple more directionally challenged people in the family but we won't go there), and we can tell story after story from west to east and north to south. We also know our family in places like Minnesota, Ohio, California and the Netherlands. I met someone the other day that's never left Iowa...he seems well adjusted and lives life pretty well...I can't begrudge someone for never going anywhere. But for every reason, for the wisdom I've gained, I'm glad to have seen places and I'm grateful that my parents thought we should.
Jess and Rob feel the same way about their children. It's important for Katherine and Aaron to know their grandparents, to know their Uncles and Aunts, cousins and friends. They spent a month away from home doing just that. I'm not sure they'd do it that way again...I'm guessing Rob, who couldn't go with them, was pretty lonely and I'm sure he missed his family. But the kids, man--the kids have already gained a wealth of experience not limited to knowing how to pack, knowing how to treat hosts/guests with respect, learning to make choices, learning to get through an airport, learning to sleep, eat and enjoy wherever you are. They have huge imaginations brought to them in part because they've seen what there is to imagine--there's no video or book in the world that could teach you the stuff they now know. We had a blast with the kids and Jess. We're exhausted--so are they! But with selling 'Krispy' bars at our rummage, swimming, playing in the park, getting made-up, going out for ice-cream, going on scooter and motorcycle rides (the helmet was nearly as big as Aaron was, it was all I could do to not drop to the ground laughing), running up and down steps, going to Chuck E. Cheese, climbing trees, watching movies, playing freeze tag and hide-and-seek, shopping, helping out a little around the house, playing the "who blinks first" game, and throwing a fit or two from time to time -- who wouldn't be tired? I'll say it again, we had a great time with them and I'd do it again for sure. The kids were awesome and funny and sweet and helpful and respectful and fun. I'm waiting for the next of my nephews or my niece to drop by for the weekend or week--we'll have to figure that out.
The point is get out there and see something! Maybe you'll go for a month--maybe not. I'll send you a post card from Yellowstone or Colorado in September, maybe...but maybe you should just go see it for yourself! The other point--it's quiet around here and I don't mind. It's good to be home in my routine again. Routine keeps me sane some days. But, being willing to experience things, we've been there for family in every kind of situation, and family has been there for us in equal numbers of ways. Everyone's in the process of dyin the day their born. The important part is how you've lived along the way, and who gets the praise as you do.