We are on the road, drive across the country, staying with friends and family as we travel to the west coast for a sailing holiday. I am reminded again why it is worth all the effort to travel with kids.
We gain so much from this time. Of course, we get to see people we love, but live far from. My children met family they'd met before, some they remembered, some they didn't remember, and discovered the joys of playing with cousins their own age and being admired by a great-grandfather. We met up with dear friends continuing and strengthening those bonds. We've also met new friends. We've discovered that we have friends we just haven't met yet everywhere we go. It's wonderful to learn that the world is full of interesting and kind people.
We see places that are very different from our own home, yet we see the commonalities that all people share. It's fascinating to see how other people manage their lives. It's enlightening to see how many ways there are of being, to notice that our own way isn't the only way. It seems kind of old hat, these are things we all know to be true in the abstract. To experience it in person drives home the lesson in ways that a lecture or book just can't.
Of course there are things that aren't so great: tired and overwhelmed kids who can't hold it together one more moment, family drama and sorrows, the discovery that some situations/people can't be trusted. I'm learning that these are actually good things too. We learn how to cope with the less than perfect, we build resilience, and the knowledge that we are able to move beyond that and still enjoy what we have at that moment. That's a lesson that I want to remember!