A blast from the past

10515319_10202980211960774_5874144911201774641_oAs what may be my family’s last spring break rolls on, here’s my favorite image from the first one, back in 2005. My older daughter–who just turned 18 a few days ago–was in kindergarten at the time, and we spent a week in Arizona.

Near the end of the week, we went to a chuck wagon supper at a place I’ve since forgotten about. One of the attractions ions we could do was pose for an old time where photo in period dress. My kindergartener saw the blue dress and decided she had to wear it. So we all got dressed up, and the photographer captured a literal snapshot in time for us.

To remember that moment, and marvel at how quickly time passes, that snapshot is presented here. Many thanks to my two girls– who will always be “little” in my mind, no matter how old they get– for allowing me to take them to places I otherwise would not have gone. Thanks also to my wife, who picked out a number of interesting places to go over the years.

Yesterday we were at the Japanese garden in Portland, Oregon when a family with three cute little girls caught my attention. I understood, in a way that I couldn’t have back in Arizona, that we are lucky to be where we are at any given moment, and that having children is like a concert or a play that’s over before you want it to be. All we can do is enjoy it while it unfolds, as much as we possibly can. And in the end, we’ll wish we had done more. But the memories of what we did do will just have to be enough.

 

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My family meets the world

The picture above was taken six years ago at the Grand Canyon. My older daughter was in kindergarten then, and for Spring Break so we decided to go someplace fun. I had never been to Arizona before, and so we (me, my wife and two daughters) rented a cabin near Sedona and used it as a base to see different parts of the state.

If I hadn’t been a parent, I doubt Spring Break would have had any meaning to me. In fact, unless there’s somebody in school, there is no such thing. So the fact that we went anywhere to begin with was a direct result of parenting. But we wanted to go and do something interesting, and Arizona fit the bill.

Having never been there before, I missed out on some really interesting things. My parents didn’t take the family traveling when I was young. I understand why, since money was always tight, but I also realize it’s a big world out there, and seeing some of it is better than missing out on all of it.

Since the picture above was taken, my five-year old kindergartner has become a poised twelve-year old in what seems like a month. I hope that she remembers that trip, along the others we’ve taken together since then. She has a little sticker passport book, where you can write down all of the times you’ve been to a particular state. I’m proud that I’ve been able to take her and her sister to see some of the interesting places on this planet of ours.

A week from today, we’ll be packing up for a week in South Dakota before school starts. Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and things like that. Again, I wouldn’t just up and go to South Dakota on my own. I tell myself I’m taking the kids there so they can see it, but I’m also going there to create a memory for them and for my wife and I.

It’s been a great summer for us, and a great dozen years since they’ve entered my life. But time has–and will continue to–march onward, and in another (seems like) month or so, the older one will be off to college and the younger one will be thinking about it too. Taking a trip, whether it’s to South Dakota or anyplace else, won’t slow down this process at all. But it will fill up her heart, and mine, with the kind of happy memories that sustain us all. And that makes it worth whatever the cost might be.