This past summer, my family got to take a dream vacation to Disney World. This was a big deal for us – the opportunity to take our little family to a place I only dreamed about going to as a child.
Whenever I told people where we were going and once they got out of the way how expensive Disney World is, often times, they would follow up with something along the lines of not wanting to take kids on a trip like that until they can remember it.
This really got me thinking. Why does it matter if they remember or not? I will remember. I will remember the squeals of excitement when she first laid eyes on Mickey. I will remember how she thought riding the tram from the parking lot was one of the most exciting parts of the day. I will remember how she couldn’t stand still because she was just so excited to meet Cinderella. Everything through their eyes is magic at this age. I want to remember that. I could care less if they do or not.
It’s not the first time I’ve had someone say this to me. We like to travel a lot and take our now three-year-old on all sorts of adventures. Yes, it can be expensive but I don’t need her to remember it to make me feel like I got my money’s worth. Age and enjoyment levels are something I definitely consider – but memories? I could never imagine waiting to travel somewhere just so she could have the memories. It will be a long time before that happens.
Even then, when I look back at all the family trips I was lucky enough to go on as a kid, I often only remember silly things like the pool or a souvenir I convinced my mom to let me buy. But they instilled my love to explore new places, to be spontaneous. Those trips made me love the outdoors and be drawn to the water every chance I get. They played a big part in who I turned out to be and maybe that’s why I don’t care.
What I do hope she remembers is how adventurous our family was. That we gave her opportunities to explore the world before she could even remember. That these trips and these adventures shaped the person who she grew up to be. I don’t care if she remembers the details of the day and I won’t feel like it was a waste if in a year from now she has no idea she ever went to Disney World. That’s what pictures are for.
She was filled with joy, with adventure, with excitement to explore new places on that trip. She practiced patience and how to go with the flow. We made some amazing memories as a family that I will never ever forget. All of these things are valuable and if it were up to me I’d spend every last penny we had on these experiences over and over again.
Where is your favorite place to travel to as a family?