From the left, our 24-year-old daughter Taylor, me, our 21-year-old-son Riley, and then my wife Julie. We took the trip to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary trip together.
Yes, we took our kids on a 30th Anniversary trip. Which may strike some of you as odd but to us it reinforced why we’ve been taking family vacations every year since they were young children.
Here are some reflections on the rhythms and routines of that week away . . .
1. Children crave tradition. Though we went to a special locale for our 30th this year, for the last 18 years or so we have gone to the same place (a property on Hilton Head) and have done the same things on the same weekdays and nights every year. Including eating the same food. As our kids moved from childhood to adolescence and now to young adult-hood, that predictability gave them a sense of family stability — always among the best gifts parents give to their children.
2. Families create their own language. We have phrases and memories that only make sense to us. For that week away, the four of us live “under the dome,” often laughing hysterically at things which would only confuse outsiders.
3. In the middle of relaxation, time emerges for serious conversation. It happens every time, and it happened again this year: vacation paradoxically opens up space and time to talk about future, faith, and even the impact of childhood on adult living.
4. What a privilege that adult children want to vacation with us. Julie and I continually marvel at their willingness to come. Each year we give them the option of “aging out” of a week with 50+ year old parents, and each year they’ll hear none of it.
5. If you are Anglo, you will never get as tan as your Latino family. Julie is 1/2 Puerto Rican. Taylor and Riley are 1/4. I am 0%. My tan never measures up. Sigh.