My youngest five children and I have visited for nearly a week in another state with extended family and we’ve had a wonderful time. It is very inconvenient for us to travel and expensive and exhausting. Our life is challenging enough for us to manage on a day to day basis. After all, we are an #xlfamily and not like the ones on tv. We have a constant state of trying to catch up in homeschooling and housecleaning and bill paying. We have our little homestead and entourage of animals that includes goats and chickens and a giant breed dog (plus more). Throw in traffic, weather, packing, money and nine different personalities, schedules and etc. you’ve got the perfect recipe for chaos.
So, we haven’t traveled much in the last five years, practically not at all. It just didn’t seem doable. But, this year I was determined to change that. And here we are, well six of the nine of us, hundreds of miles away from home.
We’ve had a grand time. We’ve seen family members, hugged necks, had bonfires, roasted marshmallows, ridden horses, celebrated birthdays and feasted together. We also visited the grave of my loved and cherished grandmother for the first time. I chose the flowers to take to decorate her stone and we gathered together and in an unplanned moment of unity sang Amazing Grace with great abandon. I shed a few tears as tender memories flooded my mind and heart.
Tomorrow we will make the long trek home and return to our oft times chaotic life of too much to do and too little time. But, for this week, we stepped out of the whirlwind of normalcy and retreated to the comfort of making new memories. We have had an adventure together.
I am already thinking of the next time, the next journey when we will come again and explore old trails and new paths together. I will broaden my children’s world and minds by leaving our little homestead. I’ve already seen an impact on their way of thinking.
The girls told me that I seem so much younger, like a little girl. Jeremiah told me I need to write a story in honor of Grandma and her favorite scene of an angel helping children across a broken bridge. Jonathan said he feels safer knowing we have an emergency house (the guest house we stayed in). Jared just doesn’t understand why we have to leave.
When we do drive away in the morning I’ll be leaving Jeremiah for his first solo visit away from us. He will turn 15 while we are apart. He will be treated like a prince. He will have his own adventure, his own stories to tell. I am excited for him as I recall my own visits with grandparents as a young person.
Here’s a thought for those of you who, like me may need a little nudge. Make the effort. Stay connected. Take a journey. Go on an adventure. Be the better for it.