They’re coming! My sisters are coming to Michigan! If you haven’t read it, “Sisterhood of the Traveling Attitude” will explain my excitement. Four of my five sisters are headed this way with SUVs bulging. We’ll invade Houghton Lake and fish, cook, sunbathe, lounge, and all other sorts of activity that may or may not pass public muster. What happens at Houghton Lake shall certainly stay at Houghton Lake.
Oh, but the prep! While I love having my kiddos around, let me tell you how happy I am to have an empty bedroom to stage all the stuff we’ll be taking. We’re sort of kitchen snobs, so my stainless cookware will go along for the ride, and we’re also having a homeschool graduation ceremony and open house for our youngest. That requires a crate or two.
As I take a little break from planning, I ponder on a thought: that the preparation for a vacation, as overwhelming as it can seem, is actually a huge part of the vacation itself.
Packing up games leads me to remember all the silly squeals and laughter we shared wrestling in a rambunctious round of spoons, and children learning to follow the rules–or not–in a simple game of Sorry or Pachisi. I find myself thinking through who will enjoy what, and I smile.
Shopping for just the right ingredient a sister will need so far from home gives me time to reflect on all the times she went out of her way to make me comfortable and provide for me when I was so far from home, and I smile.
Bin after bin of food prep items remind me of the growing little ones who will all too soon be the adults themselves, nourished on the cuisine their aunties will force upon the rumbling tummies.
On our vacation, very few of those grown nieces and nephews will be here. They have responsibilities now that kept them home, but I reflect on the day when those mommies and daddies were carefree children shooting off fireworks late at night on the beach–against the rules, I’m sure. In the blink of an eye, my grandchildren will grow up and be too busy or have too many pressing needs to spare the finances for these getaways. At this thought, I still smile, for this is the natural progression of life.
My grandson repeats the names of all the family coming this way and talks about the things we’ll do together. The anticipation, the conversations, the endless planning with lists and bins at the ready, all serve to mark the week as a significant, personally historic event. These special vacation weeks, no matter where they’re spent, create a family culture that models for our little ones the importance of coming together as a unit to enjoy each others’ presence.
Way sooner than any of us would like, our generation will move on just as the one before us did, and our children will need to stay connected, to see the importance of family and tradition and teach that to their own children. They’ll play different games and probably vacation in different places, but the time they take out of their busy schedules and the finances they carve out from among all those obligations common to young families will mean something important. It will communicate to their children and grandchildren how to build their legacy, not a legacy of wealth, but an investment of another sort.
We’re not just playing at the lake; we’re building a family heritage, a library of memories that support a central theme: Family matters!
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.