A SHARP LIFE: Travel is a gift for the whole family

Recently our family of six took a small vacation to San Antonio. The trip was a big part of our family’s Christmas as we look to transition from focusing on gifts of stuff, to gifts of experiences for our kids.

We are doing this for two reasons. One, we think that experiences will prove more valuable in the long run. Two, if we get any more stuff in our house there is an excellent chance that the Wonder Woman is going to start indiscriminately throwing things away, and I am worried that I will wind up in a bag on the curb.

Our trip to San Antonio was insightful to say the least. Why, on just the trip to San Antonio I learned the following things about my children.

First, the three-year-old Fashionista loves to sing. Most of the time this is supremely adorable, but there are also times that she sounds like a dying cat trying to sing an opera.

Second, and this is related to the first item, the seven-year-old Zoologist knows what noise cancelling headphones are and has now requested them repeatedly for family trips in the van.

Third, the five-year-old Ballerina has learned a lot in kindergarten, but her skills in time estimation still need improvement. One hour into our trip that was going to take a minimum of six hours she declared that she needed to go potty, but that she would just hold it until San Antonio. Unfortunately this child has her father’s bladder so we stopped immediately.

Fourth, parenting involves cleaning up a lot of vomit, but cleaning a child and car seat on the side of the highway in the rain is a category of cleanup all its own. As a side note when the other kids start asking the eighteen-month-old, “How did you make such a big mess?” pay attention.

Fifth, the Wonder Woman gets me, she really gets me. When one of the children asked in which war the battle of the Alamo took place she gave this response, “The Civil War. No, wait, the War of Mexican Aggression.” I think she saw the look on my face when she said Civil War, but either way she corrected her mistake before her sarcastic husband could make any comments. Also, she earned bonus points for creativity with the “War of Mexican Aggression” comment.

Come to think of it maybe the Zoologist is right, our gifts of experiences should come with the gift of noise-cancelling headphones as well.