My cousin and I started our “Two Trippin’ Moms Adventures” when our children were very young. Bidding the daddies goodbye, we buckled in a 2-year-old, two 4-year-olds, and a not-quite 7-year-old and headed out to see the sights.
At the onset, “trippin’” was certainly less an explanation of intent and more exclamation of wonder, a.k.a. “you two must be trippin’!”
Today, we have gone from packing diapers to packing two “tweens,” a bona-fide teen, and a student driver.
Our initial desire to travel with children was borne less out of an idea that we needed to take a toddler to a museum full of priceless artifacts, and more that we had found ourselves losing touch and not spending the time together we once had.
These short trips are not the stuff of Disney legend. Our theme is less amusement park and more state park. Our specialty is combining affordable fun with spontaneity.We tend to take the kind of cornball vacations reminiscent of ’50s road trips. If there is a largest ball of twine, “blue hole” of water, or small-town museum on the route, we’ll see it. An old covered bridge or the self-proclaimed “best ice cream in the region?” We’ll find it.
On the educational front, each trip is planned to see points of interest in our home state (or, at best, related states — our limit is about four hours of drive time before the kids may spontaneously implode).As they have grown, our immersion in historic home tours, the lives of former U.S. presidents (Ohio, our home state, being a hot-bed of former presidents, thank you very much) and history ranging from Civil War to air and space travel has grown.
Over the years, we have toured a coal mine (yes, really, and quite fascinating), viewed not one but two live-action theatrical presentations about early Indian life, and watched a Civil War battle re-enactment. So close were the cannons that we now know that bystanders were instructed not to have their teeth clenched during detonation for fear the percussion would crack their teeth!
As you can well imagine, our kids KILL when it comes to history and social studies grades.
Granted, the problem with history is that it is so darned REAL.American history is rife with neglected orphans and high infant mortality. Nothing will cause you to hold your children a bit closer and take time to smell the roses like learning of families that lost handfuls of children before their first birthday and an average life-expectancy of around 35 years of age.
Kind of makes the high price of gas or a few extra pounds that plague you pale in comparison doesn’t it?
On these trips we learn a little, laugh a lot, build stronger family bonds, and amass a nice thick “yes, you did have a happy childhood!” photo album.
After a decade (such a nice round number), it is the photos that feel to me to have taken on a historical quality all their own.In one photo, our daughter is a toddler in Amish Country. She is patiently bent down to the kitty. How funny that we traveled for two hours so she could see a cat much like the ones we had at home!
Her dress is blue, with white and yellow flowers and white eyelet that brushes the grass. Her ponytails are skewed.
I spent that entire trip holding her hand tightly lest she wander off. Now I watch her, impossibly long and lean, kick off her flip-flops (they aren’t allowed on the stairs) and duck through the doorway to climb to the top of the lighthouse.
Once there, she will approach the rail and lean, smiling over the edge. I, so far below — so far away — will take a picture. The shot will be out-of-focus. This is because I will take one quick snap while shouting that she needs to get away from the rail so I can remove my heart from my throat and resume normal breathing.
Two trippin’ moms and 10 whole years gone by in a blink of an eye.How is it that yesterday she needed my hand to walk anywhere and today she is peering down from the heights of a lighthouse?
Taking time out to spend time together, visit times past, and take a couple of snapshots can hold back time, if only for the second it takes to realize that 10 more years, God willing, will have happened by tomorrow.
Someday, THIS time of our lives will be one for the history books, and this age will seem impossibly young.
If I learned anything on our educational vacations it is that time flies no matter what you do, so you might as well have fun.