Kids don’t require vacations

Years ago, my kids and I were caught in a freak thunderstorm in Santa Rosa. It was just after school had ended, and we were on our way home after I had picked them up. But in between school and home, I needed to stop at Montgomery Village for some reason. I don’t remember what that reason was. All I know is that this was when the rains decided to drop buckets, and the thunder and lightning were going wild.

The kids and I all huddled under the eaves of one of the stores, laughing as the sky poured down all around us. It was too magnificent of a rain to just get back in the car and leave. Besides, driving in this kind of weather wasn’t fun. So the kids talked me into taking them to one of the bakeries in the shopping center. And I was more than happy to oblige.

I didn’t have a lot of money at this time. I was a single mom, living on one tiny paycheck that I made stretch by not allowing for many extras. But on this day, nothing sounded better than indulging in something sweet until the rains let up. I don’t remember details of my day-to-day life very often. But on this day, I remember that we all got white hot cocoas, and then split a very delicious almond croissant. I can still taste the sweet marzipan of the filling layered within the flaky bread, and how we were all careful to take small bits of it to make it last that much longer.

I mention this now because it’s one of the childhood memories that my kids still talk about to this day. It’s probably been about 5 years, maybe more, since that happened. And it all cost me the price of three cocoas and a pastry.

Vacation season has just begun, and many families are headed off to fun places like Disneyland, Hawaii, camping, or some other place miles away from home. But a lot of families are also staying home because their finances don’t have room for anything extravagant.

Thing is, kids don’t require traveling in their vacation. Sure, it’s nice when it’s possible. But they are not suffering when it’s not. What they do require from you, however, is TIME.

That day in Montgomery Village, it wasn’t the sweet treats that made the day special. It was our time together, sharing something to laugh and be cozy over. It was enjoying the fact that we three were our own group, with private jokes and shared history, a trio that were in each other’s corner while the rest of the world rained down around us.

That’s what being a part of a family is. It’s not what you’re doing, it’s who you’re doing things with. More than a trip to Disneyland or tropical island, your kids are going to remember the moments they spent with you – even if it’s as simple as waiting for the rain to stop over a cup of hot cocoa.

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2 thoughts on “Kids don’t require vacations”

  1. I love this. I could almost smell the croissant as you described it.
    I remember pulling my car over with my three year old in the back seat. We had just finished grocery shopping, But there on the side of the road was an enormous area of fallen leaves. They were just calling out to me.
    My son questioned why I was stopping the car. I said, “C’mon. Get out. You’ll see.” I began romping around those fallen leaves as my son followed suit.
    A woman walked by and looked at us with utter shock and asked me if I was the boy’s grandmother. And replied, “Now why would you say that? Because moms aren’t allowed to have fun with their kids?” I knew that’s exactly what she was thinking.
    We laughed until we’d had enough.
    A memory for the books.

  2. You are so right… One of my favorite memories was my 5th birthday. I woke up early and found Dad already awake. I announced that it was my birthday & he took me out for a hot cocoa right then and there. We happened to be up in the mountains at the time, but it’s not the trip to the cabin that I remember so clearly. It was the special time with my dad that made my birthday so memorable.

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