We Need a Vacation…

We need a vacation. However, it’s not the destination that I have in mind, it’s the traveling. It’s the conversations that take place when we’re confined as a family within the small space of a car, with nothing on the agenda for the day but to drive. A long, open road leads to long, open conversations.

Traveling conversations are different from everyday conversations. My husband and I talk every day. But ninety percent of our everyday conversations are about the things that happen on a daily basis. We talk about his job. We talk about the things I’ve done around the house and the things still to be done. We talk about our children and their behaviors, attitudes, well-being, and the funny things that they’ve done or said. We talk about the future by means of doctor’s appointments, events at school, or where we need to be on the weekends.Β Of course these kinds of conversations need to take place. If there is one thing that my husband and I have been working on in the past couple of years, it’s communication. This kind of daily communication is vital to our happy marriage and a well-functioning family.

When we travel, we leave our daily life at home, and the everyday conversation is no longer needed. The conversations become as long as the roads we travel and just as fresh as the new views from the car windows. While growing up, some of my favorite conversations with my family took place on a long trip to anywhere in the car. I heard stories of who my parents were before they were parents. I heard about my mom and her relationship with her parents and siblings–how she was a daddy’s girl, and she fought with her oldest sister who often acted like she was her mom. I heard how my grandma had the patience of a saint, and that my mom sees a lot of her personality in me. I asked many questions about my mom’s other sister who developed schizophrenia after she had three children and how it affected the rest of the family. I heard about my dad and how he was a mama’s boy and would cling to the doorframe when it was time to go to school. I found out that he played football in a small town high school and has always been a quiet guy. I learned that he met my mom on a double-date (where they were each on a date with someone else), but that they ended up together.

Before I was a mom, I lived these kinds of stories too. I want to have time to tell my husband and children all about them. That I loved a warm afternoon sitting beneath a tree with a good book. That my baby dolls and stuffed animals were some of my favorite friends and my first practice at being a mom. That my sister and I had a “secret recipe” that consisted of brown sugar, butter, and peanut butter rolled into a ball and eaten raw when our dad was a diabetic and much of our pantry was sugar-free. How my dad scared me once when he went into a low-blood sugar reaction and was talking nonsense. I want to tell them about the rush of adrenaline that kicked in when I waited with my feet in the blocks for the gun to go off at the start of a track meet, and how good it felt the few times that I was able to get my chest across the finish line first. That my husband and I spent seven years growing up just a few streets from each other, and yet we met for the first time when he walked into a bowling alley when we were twenty years old.

With the busyness of our everyday lives, there is very little time to tell them all of these stories about the girl I was before I became a mom and a wife. I want to hear my husband’s and children’s stories too. We need a vacation.

**If you liked this post, you should check out the other posts on the Yeah Write open grid this week and vote for the post you like best!**


40 Comments on “We Need a Vacation…”

  1. Bee says:

    What a great post. My family wasn’t close at all.

    • Thank you. I’m sorry about your family not being close. “Close” is a relative term, but I want my family and I to really know each other. Our past is a big part of who we are today.

  2. What a great way to view long drives! I’m afraid our kids watch movies. They would complain about talking that long. It’s a great tradition you have.

    • Thank you! I don’t love every part of a long drive, just the conversations. And sometimes we listen to music or our son will watch a movie, but there is always a lot of interesting conversation. Growing up, we didn’t have portable DVD players, and we all get carsick. The tradition came from a lack of options, really, but I love it. πŸ™‚

  3. iasoupmama says:

    Sounds like a lovely tradition! I remember car trips being awful because my sister got carsick and my parents didn’t really like each other. My brothers fought and my mom smoked (gross) . Not quite as fun as yours. πŸ™‚

    • There’s always occasional fighting and bickering and carsickness (that would be me, mostly… lol) and traffic jams, etc. And the one time I locked the keys in the van… in the middle of nowhere… on a Sunday. That wasn’t fun. But I mostly remember the good stuff. Selective memory. πŸ˜‰

  4. I like the way you look at the journey as an opportunity. When you are all together, that opportunity for moments really does grow.

  5. Emma says:

    The title of your blog makes me happy. Close families. How often do you hear someone say they have a close family. Such an uplifting post. I wish that for me and my daughter, and my ex-husband that one day we might all gather together and have a long conversation about everything that we missed from each other’s lives. I love this post.

  6. Love this! Love and relate to the travel stuff, and also the details of things you remember. Now I think I need a road trip…

  7. This makes me want to have a road trip even though I hate driving long distances. The conversations just might be worth it.

  8. Kenja says:

    My husband and I have traveled across the country several times by car and when it is just the two of us, there’s no place I’d rather be. We talk about our hopes and dreams and it brings us closer together.

    Add a couple of kids into the mix and I just want a valium and to be there before they kill each other.

    Great post.

    • Lmao! I think with young children it can be difficult, but I’ve had so many amazing conversations with my oldest son (now age 6) in the car. Something about being strapped in with no where to go that the thoughts just tumble out. He amazes me, really. That being said, there are also times when I had him an iphone and ask for a few minutes of quiet. Lol
      We love a good Sunday drive through the country when the kiddos nap in the backseat and my hubby and I can just talk and joke and daydream together. It’s one of my favorites.

  9. Hey!

    Thanks for sharing – I just booked my first long-form road trip with my kiddo for February. I’m looking forward to seeing how that transpires, for many of the same reasons you articulate here.

  10. katbiggie says:

    This is a really great post!

  11. I love this post. We used to take long family trips by car when I was younger, and I loved them. Now my husband and make the 6 hour car trip to visit my parents all the time. Our car trips together are some of my favorite times, even if it is just him driving me to work so I don’t have to take the train (which, living in the suburbs and working in NYC, feels like a miracle).

    • I can’t even image that commute! I’m a Midwest girl with very little knowledge of public transportation, other than the one trip that we took to Chicago. Trains and buses all weekend long. It was an adventure. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  12. wcdameron says:

    Wonderful reflective post here. I think we all need that vacation to let our children know that we were a person before we were a parent.

    • They tend to think of us as just “mom” or “dad.” My son is always shocked when I talk about things I did as a kid or young(er) adult. “Yes, son, there was life before you.” πŸ™‚ Thank you for the compliment!

  13. Ginny Marie says:

    What a wonderful post! I learned a lot of family stories riding in the car with my mom on long drives, and it’s one of the reasons my husband and I like road trips so much!

    • My husband says that his family was usually fighting or doing their own thing in the car on road trips. My family and I all got carsick easily, so there weren’t many options, but I’m thankful for it now. Thank you!

  14. Angela Ryan says:

    Great post. This was by far my favorite line: The conversations become as long as the roads we travel and just as fresh as the new views from the car windows.
    You made me jealous for this kind of wonderful conversation. Since children, I can’t recall having those kind of long, meaningful conversations with my husband. I’m going to make them happen now though rather than just be jealous. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Thank you for the compliment! I’m often inspired through jealousy. I’m always reading things on a blog or through social media and thinking I should be doing that too!
      Hint with the children: Run them around like maniacs until they’re nice and worn out, and then take a long drive in the country. We have vacation-like conversations on that kind of drive too. Sharing stories and dreams. And with our budget the way it is right now, that’ll have to do for us for a while too. πŸ™‚

  15. Dilovely says:

    I love that first paragraph. And those family memories made up of simple things that form such a worthy history, all together – it’s nice to be reminded of how important that is.

  16. Funny, our family is the opposite. Long drives are for audiobooks and music, too much pressure to talk. Short drives — to school, to a friend’s house — are the ones that trigger our conversations.

    • Short drives are great too, and I can understand what you mean about the pressure, but someone always seems to think of a memory and the ball just keeps rolling from there. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it!

  17. My family tended toward arguing on car trips… but conversations are the best part about long road trips with my husband. It’s so great when we’re able to set everything else aside and just reconnect.

    • I agree. There’s no better way to pass the time, in my mind. Arguing is inevitable when you’re in that small of a space for such a long time. Especially with children! But the conversations are worth it.

  18. Oh, this is so lovely! Thank you for reminding me of one of my heart’s longings – to share these important moments connecting with my husband and children through stories of our days and our pasts – much more satisfying than the logistics conversations we have daily! Great post!

  19. […] moving essay about needing a vacationΒ to spend time connecting with her husband and children really hit home for me. With our hectic […]

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