FIRST PUBLISHED JUNE 21, 2015
"Here we go!" My dad always, always says this whether he's the one driving or in the passenger seat. Everyone is buckled in, and as we're backing out of the driveway we can count on him saying this. And now I find I say it, too, chuckling to myself if I'm alone in the car, but definitely saying it when I have passengers. Those three little words hold so much meaning when you think about it. "Here we go!" implies a journey, an adventure, excitement, not knowing what's in store for us, anticipation of what we might encounter, eagerness to be ready for anything. "HERE WE GO!"
Fantastic words to start a vacation! "HERE WE GO!" Grandchildren in the back seat with plenty of travel games, knowing we'll make some up as we do every year and having no idea how those will take shape! Venturing forth to uncharted territories, exploring city and countryside, wondering what lies just around the next bend, delighting in treasures discovered in a museum or on a hike, hearts racing in anticipation of nearing our destination, the hugs and smiles greeting us when we visit family members. "HERE WE GO!" So much is conveyed in these three words, knowing that together we will experience happiness, joy, laughter and love in everything we do.
Car travel with our granddaughters is never boring. They can hardly wait to be on the road! We have travel tunes on a CD, a small case filled to the brim with travel games and activities, and the two of us keeping them on their toes with thought-provoking questions. Yet somehow, in spite of all my planning and organizing, I think they'd be perfectly happy with one or two books of Mad Libs and all the nonsensical games we invent along the way. They key to fun travel with children is to keep them busy. It's better to have too many activities for them to do than not enough.
Vacations in our family are always well thought out with travel routes, itineraries, daily schedules and places to visit in hand. We follow our schedules, but always leave room for serendipitous moments to transpire! Will we feel like singing and dancing down the streets of New York City? Why not, if the urge strikes? Can we enjoy quiet time with older relatives and be patient? Absolutely, because we're learning our family's history! Is slowing down for a child's walk through the woods hampering us? Not at all, for they are enjoying the world around them, discovering its hidden secrets and loving how awesome mica found in a stream bed is! Can we manage age-appropriate activities for cousins who, among the three of them, are teenage, tween and toddler age? We have no idea, since we've never tried it before. But our older granddaughters love their little cousin and will certainly want to make playtime with her as fun as possible. Are we disappointed when an activity doesn't go as planned? Nope. Scratch that one off the list and move on to something our grandchildren enjoy more. (This is why I over-plan!) Time with our grandchildren is infrequent and precious, and we are extremely flexible with their likes and dislikes. We have little opportunity to get to know them better, since we are able to spend quality time together only one month during the summer.
So, dear readers and loving grandparents, we encourage you to plan well but remain flexible. Entertain the child within as you play with your own grandchildren. Be ready for anything and everything that happens during your time together. Embrace change as much as you embrace one another! Be excited, be eager, be happy to be together! Enjoy your summer, and enjoy the ride, because you know what my dad would say: "HERE WE GO!"
(This might be my last post for a while as we vacation with our families during the month of July. Stay tuned for all the grandparenting fun and adventures we are sure to have! We will be happy to share them with you in August.)