As a child I recall countless trips to For Mar Nature Preserve, Kensington Metro-Park, Cedar Point, and even Canada’s Wonderland! My brother and I learned a great deal from our parents by traveling as much as they could afford. Looking back, I’ve learned how they did afford these educational, yet always fun, excursions.
To begin, my parents made the most of our local venues for getaways, what some trendy moms now refer to as “stay-cations.” We would hike For Mar and take a picnic lunch, view Stepping Stone Falls, and bike the 8 mile loop at Kensington Metro Park. When there was a free event such as putt-putt at Playland for Memorial or Labor Day weekend, we went as many times as we could, buying as many copies of the Flint Journal as possible for the free foursome coupon inside! I never went without. I never realized we were broke, and never felt like I didn’t have what I needed. Sure there were times when kids at school bought certain Nike shoes for basketball that we couldn’t afford, or Girbaud jeans that everyone had on and I didn’t, but my parents made sure that the clothing or the shoes were not the most important aspect of my life. What mattered was the family and the memories you made with one another. My hope is to instill that moral with my kids.
Recently my own family took quite a vacation, in fact, two of them back to back. One to Minnesota, and one to Aruba, but both to visit family. On the way to Aruba there was an elderly couple seated right behind my kids. Leo had just yelled, “Mom, here’s my puke bag!” I looked over at my husband and just smiled, hoping the couple hadn’t heard this wonderful news. Claire looked back at them sheepishly and the man caught her attention. “Is this your first plane ride,” he asked eagerly. “No,” she retorted. “My third, his second (pointing to Leo) and her first (pointing to the baby).” The man chuckled delightedly and asked her where she was headed. “Aruba,” she replied nonchalantly. He couldn’t believe it! He told her they were headed to Florida to see his new grandbaby while she explained that her grandma lives in Aruba. After listening to this conversation I was thrilled we could give our children this experience, but also happy that they are so grounded. A bike trek to our neighborhood forest is as exciting as a plane ride. A trip to the Flint Children’s Museum is as interesting as a waterpark. They love spending time as a family, making memories. When they look back, I hope they recall the big moments, but focus on the little details in between the trips where we swam together, had an ice cream cone, or played checkers. Then I will feel successful at raising well-rounded children who hold family at the top of their priority lists.
Next up: Crossroads Village and “A Day Out With Thomas the Train”