The blog post “The Sweet Spot” by Julianna W. Miner made the rounds on the Internet early this summer. It was about suddenly finding oneself in a “sweet spot” as a family. You discover you’re finally in that period of child-raising where all is generally good and you’re enjoying all the hard work that came earlier. There still might be chaos at times, or a “goat rodeo” as Julianna Miner wrote, but you have moments of sanity and enjoyment.
I had that same a-ha moment on this year’s annual trip to Norway. Every summer I head across the globe on my own with the kids. My husband joins us later. I’ve traveled alone since our first child was a baby. We only skipped one year when Doobie was 1 ½ years old and Sonny was four years old. The thought of me flying alone with our two young active boys even made my mom stressed and anxious for me. She had lots of experience traveling alone with my sister and me throughout our childhood and totally understood us taking that year off.
I’ve never dreaded these long journeys with the kids. But it has been stressful getting ready for them—thinking of everything I might possibly need and then how to pack it so I could handle the carry-on and the kids. And the flights were never relaxing because I was always handling and/or entertaining one child or another or both. What has made me be able to do it is knowing that at the end of the trip my parents would be waiting at the airport with open arms and big smiles and a welcome eagerness to entertain and help with the kids.
After nine years of international travel, occasionally twice a year, my kids now know what to expect and don’t complain. Same with me. Continue reading