Get Away to See What You Have at Home

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We travel for lots of different reasons. To see different places and different cultures, to try somewhere new, to getaway, to find ourselves, to lose ourselves, to just have fun. I believe the benefits of family travel are virtually infinite, but on our current trip I noticed a benefit that I hadn’t in a while.  Getting away from home and out of our routine allowed me to see how grown up she has become.

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Being an only child, our daughter has the privilege and the curse of having a fair amount of our virtually undivided attention. She has gotten help with little every day things long after she probably would if she had a couple of younger siblings by now. In some ways she is very advanced for four and a half years old, but in other ways she probably has been babied a bit by virtue of being our baby. We do our best to battle this and prevent ourselves from unintentionally holding her back from doing things for herself, but I’m sure we are not perfect at that balance.

However, when we leave home, we also leave behind the routine of what she typically is expected to do for herself, and what we expect to do for her.  She is her own person on her own journey to a land far away, just as we are.

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At 4.5 years old on this trip to Hawaii, she no longer had to be asked and reminded to pull her own bag through the airport. She no longer asked where the lavatory was on the plane, or wanted anyone to even stand outside the door while she went in. She was able to keep herself quietly occupied for a couple of hours while we dozed on the plane – even without watching a movie.  That was beyond huge.

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She talked to people in the gate area about Hawaii and about the difference between Hawaii as a state and the island of Kauai.  She understood that the plane ride was going to be “as long as Alaska” and the time would be different at home than in Hawaii.  She asked how much further we had to go once or twice on the flight, but not in a “are we there yet” sort of way, but just out of curiosity.

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She packed her “toy bag” on her own and at the first request. We probably are about at the point where she can start packing some of her own outfits, too, but for now we put her on toy duty.

I can go on and on with the minutia of what she was able to do for herself on this trip, but the main takeaway for her was just an air of being “big”. Kind of like a “Mom, I got this” sort of attitude that we don’t always have a chance to see for what it is in our everyday lives at home.

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We didn’t go on vacation in order to see how grown up she could be, but that part came as a bonus at no extra charge.  I guess sometimes you have to getaway to see what has been happening while you were at home.

I’m curious to know if other families have experienced this same phenomenon?

 

Comments

  1. We sent my 12 year old off to work for her grandparents this summer on the farm for 2 weeks. Last year her cousin was so much bigger than her and I worried she wouldn’t be strong enough when summer 2014 came around. When we picked her up, she was taller than her cousin. (It had been a year since we had seen my niece.)

  2. I completely agree. I also have a daughter who is almost of thesame age and is also quite vocal, energetic and voices her opinion freely. When we travel, I get to see the leadership skills that most kids don’t seem to possess. She immediately becomes attentive, inquisitive, listening and perusing maps, guides, food and other pertinent details while giving her opinions, engaging strangers, etc. I feel so blessed exposing her to so much. And you my lady, continue to inspire me!

  3. so cute! She seems very mature! They do grow up too fast. I am always nostalgic for my little boys who are in their late 20’s now.

  4. Sounds like another fabulous family trip & they do grow up so quick. Last week we camped at the city park in Telluride (I know you love that town–it’s so family friendly). After the 1st day our 10YO rode his bike along the river trail to the community market & the famed Free Box. We worried the whole time he was gone but he did great & was a good boost in confidence before the school year starts. 🙂

  5. Having had the blessed advantage of living and constantly traveling around Asia and Europe, our only daughter, now 6, has the same “I got it, Mom and Dad” attitude when we travel. It has extended to, “how are we getting there? By car, plane or train?” Lol.. It’s been a very nice transition from baby to big girl and it’s definitely an experience of us being proud and bittersweet that she is growing up so fast! PS: Your little girl is so adorable! 🙂

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