This morning I dropped my little sweetie, Chayce, off for her first day of 3rd grade at Trinity Christian School! If you don’t know, I also attended Trinity, and so many sweet memories flood back to me every time I walk my baby girl up those stairs.
I feel like my hubby and I have entered the emotional sweet spot this year. Chayce isn’t so little that we are in tears on the first day, and she isn’t so old that she won’t let me take her picture—or, worse yet—is driving herself. I’ve seen many Facebook posts from friends who are standing in the driveway, Kleenex in hand, as their senior (SENIOR!!!) drives away for her last first day. Oh, that makes this mama’s heart heavy for a day that I know will come faster than I want it to!
The Myth of 18 Summer Vacations
I have a dear friend and mentor in the travel industry who regularly reminds her clients that they only have 18 summers with their kids, so they need to make the most of them. I totally get where she’s coming from as a mama whose littles have left the nest, but I’d like to share a different point of view with you today—one that speaks to the heart of why I love designing travel.
WHO SAYS YOU ONLY HAVE 18 SUMMERS?!?
I was blessed to have parents who were able to take me on many vacations when I was a kid. I also had great experiences on school trips and going away to camp. But following my junior year at Texas Tech, my mom and dad took me to Italy. It was the first time the three of us went to Europe together, and the experience was a turning point in our relationship. Drinking wine with my parents (for the first time!) at the trattorias, shopping with my mom for new leather bags, and seeing how moved my parents were to step into the hallowed ground of the Colosseum were all events that forged a deep, meaningful connection between us.
This was when we realized how much we liked each other.
As someone who has traveled extensively with my child and with my parents, I’d like to point out a clear distinction between vacations with young children and vacations with adult children:
I’m by no means saying this negatively. I have a list a mile long of reasons why you should be traveling the world with your young children. But the fact is, special considerations will have to be made when littles come along for the ride. BUT…When those babies grow up, you have an opportunity for an altogether different experience, don’t you? Now that your kids are grown is really the best time to travel together!
- Now that they are old enough to appreciate time with you.
- Now that you can share a bottle of wine and chat the night away.
- Now that you don’t have to carry anyone’s bag but your own.
- Now that time together is all the more meaningful because of so much time spent apart.
You’ve worked. You’ve saved. You’ve waited. You showed up for volleyball games and one-act plays and graduations. You’ve dropped off and picked up more times than you you’ve sneezed in the past two decades, and you’ve rescued everything from goldfish to baseball mitts from the third row of your mom-mobile. You hollered down the hallway before school and waived from the porch before prom. You set up nurseries, big boy rooms, dorms, and apartments. You’ve been a room mom, a booster mom, a scout mom, and a sorority mom.
And now, you finally get to tend to the dreams that have taken a backseat for all these years.
You’ve probably noticed by now that this season ending means that something magical is beginning: your kids have stopped being kids and started being friends.
Some of the most fulfilling holidays I’ve planned recently have been for grown-up families who just like hanging out together. In the last few months alone, these travels have led my clients to explore nine different countries with their young adult kids. They’ve eaten slow meals at amazing restaurants, lain on beaches, gone to concerts, wandered Parisian flea markets, chartered yachts in the Mediterranean, climbed the steps of the Eiffel Tower, been serenaded by gondoliers in Venice, taken hot air balloon rides above scenic valleys, chowed on brats in Bavarian beer gardens, and visited more wineries and vineyards than I can keep track of.
They’ve had grown-up fun together.
Want to know what else they’ve done?
They’ve reminded me why I do what I do.
I provide attentive vacation planning especially for parents who want to eat, drink, and explore the world with their young adult children. I relieve the stress and burden of planning an overwhelming trip, pull together crazy wish lists, and provide unique experiences that everyone in your crew will love. Of course my passion for food, wine, and culture hasn’t changed—and neither has my business model. I am still your go-to girl for European food and wine tours. But the heartbeat of this company will always be about nurturing the bonds of family and friends through travel.
Would you mind helping me out with something? If you have a friend or family member who has moved on from the Disney years and is ready to see their interests reflected in a vacation with their adult children, would you mind passing this article along to them? I know I’m still early in my parenting journey, but it’s my role as a daughter that makes me pretty stinking good at designing travel that excites everyone.