With my schedule as a family child care provider, we didn’t have the opportunity to go on lavish, long family vacations each year, so when we did steal a couple of days here and there we tried to pack lots of fun in that short time.
I recall one of the best days we had together on a mini vacation...Tim and I took the kids to Sea World. We were there before the gates opened and stayed for the night time fireworks. There were no arguments, no fighting, no "that’s no fair", no bad times at all. The day was amazing!
As the children grew up and were old enough to stay home while we took a day trip to Disney or wherever we headed for the day, there were times that we didn’t have all of the children with us. And as they grew up, they each found that time to stay home and not come along with the family.
I remember Amber not wanting to tag along with mom, dad and two younger brothers at Disney all day. There were several day trips when she was 17 or so, where she stayed home. Several years later, when Amber didn’t have a Disney pass anymore she realized that those little day trips meant a lot to her, too. She wished then that she was able to go with us again and now she does.
I remember when Justin was in Tennessee at school, he called one night and we were all out camping with some friends. The phone got passed around and most of us took a turn talking to Justin. You could hear it in his voice, while he was at school and we were all out having family time, you just knew that he missed being with us again.
And then there is Chris, even though he was the youngest of our children, he now misses out on family times being a United States Marine. He isn’t stationed far, luckily for us he isn’t overseas, but he is just far enough away to miss family dinners, family get-togethers, a weekend camping trip at Disney or just hanging out. As much as we miss him not being here, I know he misses us too.
As I read stories or hear about parents that do not spend time with their children...parents that would rather have dinner with friends than watch a movie (for the millionth time) with their children...parents who every chance they get have someone take their child for a weekend...parents who are able but can't be bothered to help out with a trip or go on an outing for school or day care...parents who think that their children come after everything else in life; I realize how lucky I am to have the children that we have!
It is funny, I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m so glad that I didn’t miss those chorus performances, those soccer sign-ups, those football games, those school plays where you sit for an hour or more to see your child for less than a minute on stage, those band meetings, those Girl Scout trips, that orchestra field trip, all those school open houses each year, those many, many soccer practices, those arguments about those friends that we just knew where not going to be a good influence, all the birthday parties, driving to the mall, driving to school, driving to field trips, school clothes shopping and the list goes on. I’m so proud of each of my children, they are all grown up now and Tim and I miss all those little things that, at the time, we HAD to do.
Missing and loving my children very much tonight and always!!!!
To Amber, Justin and Chris: even though your are grown up you are always my kids, no matter how old you are, no matter how grown up, no matter how big and bad; you are now and always will be my proudest accomplishments in life! I love you!
To Tim: thank you for helping me to raise 3 wonderful children! Thank you for putting up with all the crap that I have put you through over the years! I love you!