Twenty three days to Hawaii.
It's cool to get to go to Hawaii. It was my mom's idea for her and dad's 40th anniversary. They have been very generous in an attempt to get us all together as a family. Hawaii is a very neat setting, but the part I like the most is getting together with family. My kids are very excited about Hawaii, maybe mostly because I am, but it is fun to talk with them about it and have them ask lots of questions.
The older I get, the more I appreciate what little time I get to spend with my former nuclear family, my mom and dad and brother and sister. These are the people I have known the longest in my life. When we were younger, my parents were really good at taking us on road trips in the summer. Dad was a teacher when I was in elementary school, and we always took road trips.
Mom and Dad have lots of pictures of these. We went to Colorado 3 or 4 times, to visit my aunt and uncle and cousins. We could stay at their place, and then go do day trips into the surrounding mountains. My parents had friends with a cabin on a lake in Minnesota. We went up there 3-4 times as well. Saw the Mississippi headwaters, many other lakes and enjoyed swimming and fishing in rustic settings. My parents also sorted out a trip to the Big Apple when I was in between 10th and 11th grade, I think. Again, we stayed with friends of theirs, saw the Bronx Zoo, West Point, South Street Seaport, Broadway and Wall street, Radio City Music Hall, took the train in and back, caught a rainy Mets game, that they lost.
Sometimes the getting there was just as fun as the being there. Since my mom was not a morning person, we kids would come up with a plan for early mornings in the car as we rode off to our destination. One elaborate scheme was scheduled out, hour by hour, with arts project activities, assigned time for quiet reading, games and general controlled mayhem. It ususally worked out pretty well. My brother and sister were good enough to let me dictate some of the activities. I don't know how I convinced them to let me make them special ancient Egyptian paper dolls one trip, but they let me patiently create a boy, a woman and a priest. I don't know that we got to roll playing with them. I seem to remember a lot of time spent on creating historically accurate outfits for each character, and making sure the man and boy were bald. I think the woman was too for that matter, and then they all had wigs they wore.
I haven't taken my family on any summer road trips, because my job requires the most of my attention during the summer. We could take winter trips, but with the kids in school, that makes it a little more tricky getting time off. Now I wish I was a teacher.
So, I'm looking forward to this big family gathering. We're not all going together, but we'll be there together, and I hope it feels a little like the family trips we used to take. We're much more extended, with spouses and significant others, and a few more little kids. With my brother in Iowa and my sister in Arizona, it is difficult for us to all be in the same place at the same time on any regular basis.
Happy vacationing to anyone with trips planned.