Warning: this one is going to be a little mushy, but I promise it will have a point if you just hang with me. This weekend, I spent 5 hours driving to watch my 13-year-old daughter swim in a big meet. It was her first “team travel” meet, which meant it was my first time to not have a gaggle of girls in the car entertaining me. So I turned to Carrie Underwood. Not my smartest decision.
If you’re not familiar with Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me,” she sings about growing up, moving out and her mother telling her to remember her. So I had an ugly cry. Because it hit me like a freight train that after this year, I only have four more Christmases with her at home. And then she’s off to start life on her own. If you’re not at this stage of life yet, celebrate the little things while you can because it’s coming fast and when it gets here you probably won’t be ready for it, either.
This is the time of year when we reflect on the things we’ve done and we plan for better things ahead. As I look to next year, knowing the next four years are going to fly by way faster than I want them to, I think about all the things we’ve done as a family and all I still want to do with my children. I want to broaden their horizons; to experience other cultures and peoples; and see beauty in far away places. I want to give them memories that they can hold on to for a lifetime instead of things that will eventually be thrown away. But honestly, I really want those memories for myself even more.
So I’m starting a four-year mission of traveling in 2017. I’m making this a priority for my family and we’re starting big with an Adventures by Disney trip to Costa Rica for Spring Break, where we will get to immerse ourselves in the beauty of the country and will get to meet its people, hear their stories and see how others live. We will zip line over the rain forest, sleep at the base of a volcano and go white water rafting. The beauty of this trip is that once we land in Costa Rica, I don’t have to do anything but enjoy my family – Disney handles all of the little details. And I am SO excited about that because I want to drink up every last moment I have with my kids while I can.
Beyond making memories, traveling can do so much more for your kids. Teaching them how to travel – how to use their money wisely, how to navigate unknown places and how to adapt if things don’t go exactly as planned – those are tangible benefits that will serve them well as they move out into this world on their own. And while I’m not ready for that, I want them to be ready for it when the time comes.
If you are finding yourself eager to make memories with your family – whether it’s a trip to Disney World or Disneyland, a cruise to the Caribbean or a trip to a foreign land, I would be honored to help you craft an adventure you can treasure forever. Don’t put it off because you think your little one is too small. She will be grown in the blink of an eye.
If you want to have that ugly cry for yourself, check out Carrie Underwood’s song here: Don’t Forget to Remember Me