Do you remember family vacations as a kid? I do and while I remember the fun we had, I really remember the grouchiness that came on the way home. Everyone was tired and ready to be home in their own bed to sleep and to have some time alone. Last week we took our longest family vacation yet – 8 days. Now to get in a car knowing that it is a 12-hour ride on the way down is a bit daunting, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well the kids travelled (previously 8 hours was the longest car ride). The close sleeping quarters for the week were the next concern since Ty is not a public sleeper – he wants to talk to or bug anyone near. But there again we had very little problem with that. Then there’s the outings, meeting new people, getting the kids to listen and behave. Wow, other than little things, they were GREAT. We really enjoyed one another’s company and had a good tiime. Anne and Ty pretty well kept one another occupied and played extremely well together with little fighting (better than at home!). By the end of the week, what I noticed was not so much the kids being ready to go home and being grouchy, but my patience level diminishing with my increased tiredness. As I was noting that about myself, I became all the more aware of how my grouchiness could impact my kids memories of their vacation if I didn’t monitor my reactions to them. One of the things that I am consistently talking to my kids about, particularly Anne, is the choices we make in how to act and react and whether or not we have control of our emotions or if we let them control us. And here I was having to make a choice about that very thing.
I think God must have a sense of humor in the way that He teaches us things sometimes. So often, the very thing that we are trying to impress upon our children, God is trying to impress upon us. Things like I say to Ty, “Obedience is required – you don’t have an option,” sometimes make me squirm and ask, “Lord, what is it that I am not being obedient to you about?” As I remind Anne that she is to be the example to her brother, I sometimes wonder if I am being a good example for them or for those around me. These life lessons that we try to teach our children are often lessons that we ourselves need to re-learn or at least brush up on.
All that to say that I did make some choices about my attitude and we ended the 12-hour drive home on the same happy (yet tired) note that we started the trip on, sharing stories about our favorite parts of the trip and just enjoying one another’s company. Another lesson re-learned for me (at least for the time being!).