Tuesday, November 11, 2008

This is "our" thing.

Even the most mundane of tasks can be a great learning experience for young children and their mothers. Walking through the O'Hare terminal with three kids proved to be just that.

"Gate E2 is going to Phoenix." I announced. Fifi was in the stroller while Jay held onto the left handle bar and Lola onto the right and we raced through the crowd of hurried travelers.

"Check." Jay confirmed.

"Check." Lola repeated.

"Gate E4 is going to New York."

"Check." Jay smiled.

"Check." Lola too.

"Gate E6 is going to Dallas."

"No check. Where's Dallas?" Jay asked as he watched in awe as the group of men in huge boots and cowboy hats congregated around the gate.

"Texas."

"No check. But. We should go to Texas one day." Lola stated dreaming of ponies, I am sure.

"Gate E8 is going to Florida."

"Check."

"Check."

By the time we reached E14 that was headed for Cleveland we had checked off nearly every destination. In the last 12 months alone, my children have been to Mexico, New York, Chicago, Paris, Poland, and Chicago again.

"You guys are very lucky kiddos."

"Why?"

"Because not everyone travels as much as you guys do. There are some kids that have never been on an airplane before."

"I would be so sad." Jay looked up at me.

"Yeah. I would be so sad too Mama."

"You wouldn't be so sad because you wouldn't know what you are missing. You guys like to travel because it's like our hobby. It's what we do."

"We are lucky."

"So. Where is our next vacation to?"

"Texas?"

I sat on the plane watching my children devour Doritos and I realized that I was slowly turning into my parents and my children turning into my siblings and I. I remember the excitement of saving money in a communal family piggy bank before our Guatemala trip to see the "alfombras" of Antigua. And the excitement of planning out the logistics of our Machu Picchu trip. I remember the impromptu decision my father made on our European road trip when we decided to turn right and visit Venice instead of turn left for Budapest.

Traveling. It's our thing.

People assume that traveling equals money. I guess, it does.

My father brought us to America after working alone as a contractor for 12 months in Chicago. He finally earned enough money to pay our way in cash. After just a couple of weeks in America, as immigrants, my father worked long hours on roof tops to afford some time off. We took our very first vacation. Because, it was our "thing."

Months later, my sister and I, answered each doorbell selling my father's book while he was on top of roofs and my mother cleaning wealthy people's basements. We traveled some more.

Years later, my mother drove around all of Chicago in stilettos selling Polish Christmas wafers out of her trunk to afford my trip to Spain. Arriba, Salamanca! THAT was the best summer ever.

It is totally our thing. I am grateful that my parents realized that the world is such a small place and instilling in me that traveling is easy and accessible and possible. You don't have to have millions to see the world. You just have to want it. Really bad. Like selling wafers in stilettos and cleaning basements.

"So. Where is our next vacation to?" Lola asked when I tucked her exhausted body into bed this evening. Stay tuned, because it is "our thing."

62classy comments:

Jennifer said...

Go for Texas! My little girl is two and she's flown at least 20 times. For us almost all the trips have been to Texas (our home). Email me and I'll give you a list of fab things to do!

Jennifer :)

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

You make me want to start a travel jar! I gotta!

thethirddegree said...

It was regular for my mom, sister and I to fly between Alaska & Oregon, so I spent a lot of time on planes as a little kid, too. I still love to travel, and while I haven't wanted it bad enough lately, I have the bug again!

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

They ARE very lucky kiddos. Traveling is totally MY thing and not so much my husband's, but you made me realize I need to try to save for it so I can do it someday guilt-free-- I think that plan WILL include me selling half my belongings on ebay. :)

I would have to start by going to two places I've already been, but I feel like are a part of me: Spain and Argentina.

BusyDad said...

There's nothing wrong with making your kids as worldly as they can be from a young age. There are worse ways to spend your money. Awesome thing you guys have.

Melissa said...

You inspire me to show Hope more of the world...we're starting with Disney in February!!

And take the kids to Texas...it's a great state to visit!

Nap Warden said...

Now I feel like such a mope...all I ever do is go to Vail:P
How cool is it that Blogher is in Chicago?!?

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Your kids are much more well-traveled than I am! It will be our thing, too. One day!

Kimmylyn said...

Beautiful OhMommy.. You are giving your kids a gift that is better than any store bought toy could or will ever be.. They are very lucky..

Lisa said...

Your kids are lucky that it is "your thing"....their worlds are so broad and bright!!! Makes me want to plan an exotic trip....we're just going to Minnesota this summer ;)

Zoeyjane said...

I've never wanted to travel. I've wanted to be a nomad of a sort, picking up and moving to a new place, only to do it again, but I've never wanted to travel. I'm gald you guys all have this 'thing.' I think mine and Isobel's will be something to do with singing very loudly.

Smart A$$ Mom said...

we tell out kids all.the.time. how lucky they are to be able to travel. Neither he nor I had flown as children. Both kids had passports before their 8 week check ups.

Now....if you go to Texas, you have quite the experienced tour guide to walk you through!!

kim-d said...

I love it when you talk about your parents and how your background has influenced the way you parent your own children. As I've said before, I am a huge fan of your parenting style; I love the way you look at life and pass that on to your kids. I love that you see things the way you do, and that your parents instilled so many good things in you. I think it is wonderful that family travel is your thing, and I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

Indy said...

Cash? You mean you aren't supposed to just charge it and pay it off later? I'll try to keep that in mind.

manolosonamission.com said...

Totally. I know my kids will have the same childhood. Wow, that was a lot just last year! Well, who knows, it very well COULD BE Texas next year!

Irene said...

Very nice post. Yes, if you REALLY want to do something, you CAN do it. But like all good things in life, you MUST work for them. And if something is that important to you, you can find a way!

Stephanie said...

I was 5 weeks pregnant with Punky last time we traveled. I accompanied Hubby to Yokohama, Japan on a business trip. It was an awesome experience for practically free! A few months before that we went to NYC and stayed in Times Square. That was a little over 3 years ago. It was the FIRST time I was ever on a plan in my 28 years. I have the bug now. We will travel. I'll save my pennies with my bow business on ebay so all my kids can fly somewhere before they're 25!

Kel said...

Traveling is fun and there is nothing better than seeing the world thru a childs eyes for the first time - makes you realize just how incredible it really is.
~K

Karen MEG said...

Your kids, and mine, are indeed lucky. Both were on planes around the age of one... I think I got on my first when I was 12. Memories of family travel as a kid, though, are pretty awesome too.

We have not done Europe with them yet, and the hub would love to visit Asia.

So we also have the bug... although we're not as worldy as you just yet. And our paths MUST cross one of these days, they just MUST :)

Naomi said...

We're big time travelers too ... with our kids.

You're 127% right ... it doesn't require millions ... everyone spends their money on different things!

(was glad to see this post today ... it gets a bit weary to get "those looks" when we say we're off on another vacation again - - i KNOW you know that look)

Robyn said...

What an AMAZING "thing" to be giving to your children. And bravo to you and your husband for not being afraid to travel with 3 small children. They are very lucky kiddos, indeed!

Mandy said...

I love it. I want to incorporate your "our" thing as being apart of "our" thing.

I would love to travel. I have never been overseas. I have been on a plane only a handful of times.

I did get to visit hubby before marriage in New Mexico a couple of times. That was awesome, but even being that far away for me, it was still a lot of familiarity.

I want more!! I want Australia, Italy, Ireland and even Alaska!!!

Thanks for the traveling inspiration.

UrbanVox said...

Traveling used to be our thing when I was a Kid too...
difference is that some of these trips would actually mean the relocation of our family.
I've only lived in Brazil, Chile, USA and England... but within these countries (and some in the neighborhood) traveling was our thing too...
I've just taken some long doe holidays to scotland... but we don;t seem to travel as much anymore...
Wish we did it tho!!
I think I might have a Gypsy's blood!!! :)

MamaWise said...

I absolutely love to travel - I have been everywhere (well almost)!

My boys have only been to Florida and Poland thus far and I would love to go to more places but my hubby is a big home-body and doesn't want to go anywhere other than Florida and Poland LOL!

Hey, wanna carpool to BlogHer '09 in Chicago with me!?!?!

Crystal D said...

Travel is totally not our thing. LOL But you do make it sound enticing! We spend a lot of time visiting family and everyone lives within a 2 hour drive. I really wish we were a little more spread out, say NYC and LA. We have traveled to those places before having kids, but never since. I was just planning a visit back to DC, but again just a 3 hour car ride. Maybe this summer we will fly somewhere. If we do, I will be asking for all the OhMommy tips.

Hey it's Amy Shipp said...

Wonderful! I love this post. Very well written.
I love the idea that "the world is small" I think so too!

Traveling is the best!! Thanks for sharing.

LceeL said...

I've just realized how much of the world my sons have gotten to see. Not that travel is our 'thing', but I have always considered travel as a very broadening experience, and something I have brought to my sons as part of their 'education'.

My sons have been in every state west of the Mississippi, and most of the east except New England. They have been to the Bahamas and Jamaica, England and The Republic of Ireland. We, it seems, without realizing it, are a 'traveling' family, too.

Rhea said...

Oh, you should definitely hit Texas next!!

I love traveling. I grew up going all over Mexico, the Caribbean, and Europe with my parents and siblings.

I need to do more of that with my kids, because it meant so much to me and I loved it. And I want them exposed to other cultures.

Great post!

Courtney said...

I wish we could travel, but unfortunately we don't have the money. My kids have never been on a plane, but we are hoping soon, very soon!

Jolyn said...

I totally agree. I say the same thing to mothers who say they don't have time to read. It just has to be your thang.

Blessings From Above said...

I have always loved to travel, but seeing the world through my children's eyes is a whole new experience.

At 8 years old, Madison has flown on over 25 trips, and Kyle at 18 months has already been on several vacations. My sister, who rarely travels, wistfully says that she wishes her family could do the same. But as you said, they really can if it is a priority. Travel is important to us, so we budget for it. Anyways, I think I'll mention the change jar thing to my sister. Great idea!

Tara R. said...

I hear that Florida is nice any time of the year... just saying.

The Daily Stroll said...

We love traveling too! It's one of our "things" which is why Josh and I were married in Venice and spent three weeks traveling through Italy, Greece and Turkey. I can't wait to take Jonah to the 14th century church we were married in. My parents traveled a lot before I was born since my dad traveled for work and we took a lot of trips to visit him in Mexico, Puerto Rico and the various US states after I came along. It was a lot of fun and how I developed a passion for traveling and seeing other cultures! I think it's a great experience for a family and very enriching on our children's lives with how they view the world as adults!

If you decide to visit the great state of Texas and come to Dallas, let us know! It would be great to meet you guys!

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

What a nice story.

Ashley said...

We've already decided that once we are no longer doing the whole paycheck to paycheck thing, we are SO going to have that trip jar. It's our thing too...but right now, we're doing the wafers in stilettos thing just to keep what we have. Priorities suck.

And, Texas IS pretty cool...

Elaine A. said...

Oh yes, you should totally come to Texas. We have a lot of great stuff here! I'll tell you some places to go! : )

Your children are very lucky. My parents always took us on vacations too. We almost always went West though. I still have SO much of just our country to see and have never been to Europe (yeah, I know...)

Clare said...

oh i love that your family found this sooo important. my parents really did too, mexico, europe, grand canyon, yosemite, all of it!! it is such a great thing to pass on to your children!! kuddos!

Maureen said...

Ah yes. I was lucky, my Dad worked for Air Canada, so we took a trip every summer; but usually to relative's places so they could afford it. I miss those free passes! Today I really enjoy business trips; running thru airports, relaxing in hotel rooms, shopping at different places. One day I hope I can take daughter to Europe. I haven't been since the seventies.

Kaci said...

WOW~! El and I have traveled quit a bit since moving to Ohio.

mommynotes said...

Neat! I traveled with my mom after my dad passed away. She was more of the free spirit with traveling. We went to NYC (3 times), Bahamas, Mexico etc. I went to San Francisco for my honey moon. My girls have been to Florida and Louisiana. My husband is also a free spirit so hopefully we can expose our children to more places especially overseas. Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Texas of course, that way y'all can come visit me ;-)

Hailey said...

texas?? how about north carolina? we are absolutely fabulous here!

Amy said...

I think it is fabulous that as children you contributed to the travel jar. My children ask us when we are going to California all the time, maybe I should let them contribute to our vacations.

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

very cool! We never traveled as kid. Our one "Big" vacation was to visit some relatives in FL and I was 15 and bummed that I had to spend most of my spring break in a car with my siblings. Squished at that.

The Chicken, who is almost 11, has never been on a plane. We have traveled but we always drive. She is so jealous of her sister who has been on 2 plane trips, before the age of 3, so it isn't like she remembers anyways.

Can't wait to hear about your next adventure!

April said...

I love traveling. I went a bunch of states (and one country) as a teenager and tacked on another couple of states as an adult. I can't wait to travel some more!

Don Mills Diva said...

Traveling is our thing too - Graham has already been to Mont Tremblant and to Ireland. That's actally what I save all my blog ad revenue for...

anti-supermom said...

I love traveling and hopefully that will be part of my children's lives too.

Your children are quite lucky :)

Shannon said...

I'm so impressed with all the traveling you've done with three - we have yet to go anywhere with all three together (well, on an airplane anyway, we drove out east this summer). I'm heading on a plane this weekend with my little nine-month-old - her first time :-)

Wonderful post, and I'm glad the weekend and the travels were successful!

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Perhaps if I install a "cuss jar" in the kitchen I'll have enough to go to Paris by Christmas.

renatamic said...

sarasota?? my tata's townhouse awaits you...

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

Ha - Your children sound like mine! Too funny! They keep asking when we are going back to Mexico! (I don't like to vacation to the same location, so it will be awhile)!
My vote is for Asia - GORGEOUS - STUNNING - LOVELY - very long flight - but so worth it!

Kat said...

You're kids have definitely been in more places than I have, though I do love to travel. Someday. ;)

Cecily R said...

Not that I didn't have a sneaking suspicion before, but even your kids are cooler than me.

Ready for this? It's been 15 years since I've been on a plane. And that was the one and only time. Sigh.

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

I'm one of those Moms who keeps thinking, "When they're older..." If it weren't for my hubby's limited vacay scheduled, we'd probably actually do it now, though.

Till he has more vacay time, I'll just live vicariously through your blog. ;-)

Mama Smurf said...

We're the travelling sort too! Hoping to take a trip to Italy in the spring. We'll see.

Jaina said...

I love this, I hope to embrace traveling like this. Can I request that you do some sort of post or series of posts on tips and tricks for traveling with children? That'd be amazing especially since you have so much experience :)

CC said...

Traveling is our thing too! Thank you to all the wonderful people who have paid for our tickets!!!!

My son had been on 30+ plane trips between 7 months and 24 months of age!

MommyTime said...

Oh, I ADORE travel. I have been dreaming of Vancouver, England, France, Italy, and Hawaii most recently. Hawaii with children is actually wonderful. (Well, we did it with one 18month old) -- incredibly relaxing and beautiful with magical outdoor things to do all day long.

You've inspired me to plan next summer's trip!

Amy said...

Well if it's Texas...LET ME KNOW! I know a crazy mom that lives there with four awesome girls and she seems to have a few things in common with you. Maybe y'all could meet. Y'all, it's a Texas thing ;-)

Finally catching up on blogs and read about Lola. Hope she is doing well!!

Julie said...

So, how do you do it? I would love to travel with my family, but it just seems so expensive. Are there tricks to being able to afford it?

momof3crazykids said...

Texas is a great place, maybe because I live here I might be a little biased.

April said...

Next time we have a family get-together in Texas, you're welcome to go in our place. The catch: it's in El Paso.

 

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