Summer Fun: What Kids Remember

Spring Break has come and gone and summer is here. My high school senior is heading off to college in the fall and I can’t help thinking about our “last trips together” before she is gone.

Dr. Suess once said, “Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.” This quote gets me thinking about what memories my kids have of all the trips we have taken.

When the kids were young we took ski trips, beach trips, and cultural trips to many places including Washington DC and Yellowstone National Park. As the teen years came, we went to the Bahamas, theme parks, snow boarding, the west coast, and sometimes we just had staycations. With each of our trips, I was the grand organizer. First, I researched and planned. Second, I organized, shopped, and packed. Finally, I schlepped, fed, navigated, and mediated. I did all this so my family could have a great vacation with lasting memories. The question remains, what do my kids take away from all our trips?

I put that question to the test recently and asked my kids what they remember most of the trips that we took. The first responses were, “food and spending time with family.” I had to dig deeper.

What I realized is that you can’t plan for memories. They just happen. Good or bad. My daughter recalls the time she had bad altitude sickness in Colorado and missed the entire vacation. She stayed in the room, on oxygen, and watched tv. She binged watched Criminal Minds all day. She remembers this because when we found out what she had watched, we made her stop.   She had to wait 2 years to watch it again. This is what she remembers. She also remembers putting fish in the pool in the keys, having the best coffee in Costa Rica, staying in room 666 in London.

Landon remembers the lazy river at the Atlantis in the Bahamas, taking a Segway tour in the pouring rain in California, snorkeling in the keys, sleeping on two couches put together in a condo we stayed in (and liking it), and the bad service at the Mile Marker 88 restaurant.

While you have made all the plans and organized everything for a trip this summer, realize that what your kids remember might be moments that you haven’t planned for. Take a breath and enjoy all the moments because the valuable moments are just those that we spend with loved ones.

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