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My Child Appendages

Without further ado, I introduce to you, my right hand and my left foot.

Believe it or not, I find the idea of this quite liberating.  You can’t go anywhere without your appendages, right?

If I think of my children as extensions of myself, journeying around the world with them seems obvious.  OF COURSE I’m going to bring along my hands and feet.  And I don’t mean to say that my children and I are one being, with a murky, mushed together identity.  Realistically speaking, my right hand and my left foot are quite unique (just ask my mister, he’ll have you on the floor laughing) and most definitely have their distinguishing marks.  Same with my kids.  While we share similar genes and are most definitely a unit, we’re all our own people, which I believe is something that is of UTTER importance in keeping us all happy.

If I look at my children as being extensions of myself, it makes living the life I (yes, I) dream of, feel simple.  The way I see it, and I’ve said it many times before, my journey can be their journey.  The universe/God/whatever larger force your faith names, put these unique beings in my life and I trust that the decisions that I make will be right for us all (as long as I’m observant and open enough to see the signs).  Don’t get my wrong, 100% of these decisions are and will always be, made with the interests of our children first and foremost (I believe this is just inherently part of the process).  I’ve learned that young children are extremely adaptable and flexible and oh-so-open to new experiences, so at least for the foreseeable future, my idea of life works well for them.

If I see my children as being extensions of myself, all it takes is a simple recalibration, and the challenges that come along with traveling with young kids is base zero and rather than being challenging, is just normal.  Sure, sometimes my right hand feels like its getting osteoarthritis and my left foot is going numb, but who said life was without growing pains?

We recently went away for two nights, ALONE, sans children.  While, yes, it was everything wonderful I had hoped, it also made me realize that the things you find to be so burdensome in the moment (i.e. bedtime routines, pee stops just as you’ve embarked, the fact that you can’t go ANYWHERE without snacks stashed), are never the memories you’re left with and at the end of the day, aren’t really that annoying after all.

Being able to experience new cultures, foods, geographies, people, and places with my children, is nothing short of amazing.  More than that, being able to experience these things through my children, is unlike anything else in this world.

We often wonder which, if any, of their travel experiences, will be pivotal in their lives.  Will there be a hike up a desolate mountain that will inspire Denali to be mountain climber?  An acrobatic show that will spark a fire in Safari to become an acrobat?  Will there be a street performance that will incite a love of music?  What will those moments be that will shape the adults they will become?

People often question travel with young kids because they won’t retain the memories anyway (which I’ve never vibed with – I believe, concrete memories or not – experiences impart themselves into our beings).   Safari is four and a half.  We took a trip through New Zealand almost exactly a year ago and just yesterday, totally unprovoked, she recalled memories of seeing two dead possums on our trip.  So although I think she was subconsciously gathering information long before she stored it in her long-term memory, it’s still exciting to know that what she experiences now will be backed up by real, raw, solid memories… for a lifetime.  Though, I’m not so sure what the memory of two dead possums adds up to?

My greatest hope is that their travel experiences will leave them as more balanced, open-minded, confident children and eventually, adults.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”  Mark Twain

*All the my’s and I’s should be read as us’s and we’s, to include the mister, who most definitely completes our unit.

 

Comments

sandra.dutcher7@gmail.com
Reply

Travel puts us adults in a “kid-like state”…PRESENT. Maybe traveling with kids has many benefits to them rather then “non-memories”. Such as;
1) being present together and sharing experiences that connect you, no matter what the age difference.
2) creating a fulfilled parent that is not taking life for granted, creating a healthy environment for the child.
3) creating a mind and body that is open and flexible-life’s greatest attributes

Hesterwoman
Reply

Amen, sister! Yes, living in the moment is one of the greatest aspects of traveling and as you eloquently pointed out, memories or not, their lives are being enriched.

sharon kilwein
Reply

AGAIN a VERY well stated & entertaining read Lauren!

misssrobin
Reply

Great quote! Your children are beautiful. No wonder you always want them with you. What great experiences your children are having.

Bev @ Linkouture
Reply

As avid travelers, my husband and I hope and plan to travel extensively with our future children (first one due in the fall–we’re already talking about going somewhere with her next year!). If you are able to travel, I think it offers children an invaluable understanding about the world, and I have the same hopes as you do for your children in regards to how traveling will help shape them as human beings. Happy SITS day!

Hesterwoman
Reply

How exciting, Bev. If it’s important to you, traveling with your children is no more difficult than traveling alone. I wish you and your family many amazing adventures together. Thanks for visiting safariRoo!

Michelle
Reply

Travel gives our kids perspective and new experiences. We traveled quite a bit when the kids were younger and we still do now. There are some trips they can’t recall, and others that they can tell you tons of details from. It’s all about what resonates with them, I guess. It definitely enriches their lives!

Kim@Co-Pilot Mom
Reply

I love travelling with my children. We haven’t ventured far, but each experience away as a family enriches us. If I were to be away without them I would miss them, but also be sad that they missed an opportunity to see and experience something new.

Hesterwoman
Reply

Hi Kim! Thanks for coming by. I don’t think it matters where you go… as long as you go!

Kim {StuffedSuitcase}
Reply

ABSOLUTELY! I love what you said, “My greatest hope is that their travel experiences will leave them as more balanced, open-minded, confident children and eventually, adults.” This is what my husband and I hope for as well. We want our kids to get outside of their daily bubble and see more than just their little corner of the world!

Hesterwoman
Reply

Thanks for your thoughtful commment, Kim. I’ll let you know, around 2025, how that whole theory worked out ;). Come again!

Karma
Reply

Beautifully put! Incredibly well-written and you are very fortunate to have began wonderful relationships with you kids from the start!!!! xoxo

Erin S.
Reply

Such a wonderful post. The best education you can give your child is to let them see and experience the world. That’s the practice in our house.

Hesterwoman
Reply

Field studies, we like to call it!

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