We are trying to do a few more things as five before we become fewer. Even though we will be sure to do special things with each of the kids as they get older, it will never, ever be like this again, so we ventured out into a nearby college town for a weekend away. Traveling as a full family is a breeze now. We all pile into the car and eat wherever looks good and browse and window-shop, even in the dead of winter. We poked in little stores and stopped at a cupcake place for a treat, went to a concert, stayed in a hotel, and were just generally together.
When we first became five, it was a different matter. We would have had a six year old, a four year old, and an infant. The amount of stuff we would have had to bring for even a short jaunt like this one would have been staggering, not to mention just the bundling and unbundling required to go in and out of stores and restaurants. Looking back, I have no idea how we did it then, but we made the effort. I hold doors open for parents struggling with strollers and make faces at cranky babies in the shops because it doesn’t really feel like it was that long ago that I was right there, in their shoes.
Looking ahead, as little as eighteen months from now, it will again be worlds different. Next year we’ll be traveling with four, and will probably be going to visit our oldest daughter at school much of the time. The year after that will leave us with three, and double the university visits. Maybe we will have a tagalong older sibling or two occasionally, but it will be pretty easy to just pick up and go on the spur of the moment. We might do more impulse traveling, doing what strikes our fancy and dragging our youngest along for the ride. She’ll be stuck with us for a few years; it’s good that she doesn’t seem to mind being around us. At least, for the moment.
A few years further down the path when we just travel as a couple again, it will feel completely abnormal and amputated.
Hmmmm. I wonder if it’s too early to start packing in preparation….