At one point I said that during my 12-day vacation a lot would happen. I wrote that prior to actually leaving and well, it was sort of true and sort of not true.
The trip in and of itself is very "exciting." Spending 6 days in a car with 3 little children is always an adventure, to say the least. As I generally expected, the car portion of the trip was fine. My kids have been traveling since they were infants, so they are used to the prospect of long days in the car watching dvd's and playing ds. They look forward to eating out in restaurants and swimming in the hotel pool. I took them to a local greasy spoon in Pennsylvania, and Mac thought it was the best thing ever and was amazed that we spent about what we would have at McDonalds. They are learning.
Seeing my friends in Connecticut is always bittersweet, I miss them so much and it always makes me sad to have to say good-bye. That said, it is so great to see them, and everyone always seems to pick up right where they left off. It always amazes me that the kids that have not seen each other in a year, immediately start playing together and having a good time. It is a place where everyone knows your name.
There is always a stop at my in-laws. This year was not as jovial as usual as my father in law is struggling with some changes in his health. These changes are very distressing to the entire family and as a result everyone is on edge. The thing I thought was so interesting was that while my kids know the names of their cousins, their cousins do not know their names.
When my cousins would come and visit, it was the highlight of the summer. I would count down the days and be sad when they would leave. It was like a hole in the days once they were gone. I missed the companionship, the fun activities. We would fight and play together like siblings, it was a great time. My uncle would take us to the beach and let us do things my mother would never even consider. There was always trips to the ice cream store and dinners together. Even if we didn't really do much "exciting" stuff it was always better with the Michigan crew.
Life has interesting twists and turns. The people that you think should be important, sometimes aren't. Different families, different people have different values. I was taught to value family above all others, and to always have each others' backs. I have shared this philosophy many times before. Right, wrong or indifferent, I will always have my entire families backs, in as much as that is possible. I have slowly come to grips with the fact that this is not a two way street in every town. At the end of the day, I know that I have wonderful friends in Connecticut that will fill the void. I will continue to encourage my children to value family, but sometimes I think that family isn't the blood relations.