When most people think about summer vacations, the first thing that comes to mind is escaping. Escaping your job, escaping your to-do lists and hectic schedules, and for some people, escaping your children. And while it does sound tempting at times to not have a morning wake-up call from a little one who shouts Itsy Bitsy Spider in my ear or begs for a cup of milk at 7 a.m., we have always felt like a little piece of us would be missing if we went on a big trip without Liam. And so once a year around this time, we pack up the family, escape the Charleston heat, and head out on an adventure.
Our first trip as a family of three was an easy one: Miami, Florida. He was only six months old and his only care in the world was to eat/sleep/repeat. And he did so while we all basked under an umbrella and ate strawberries by the hotel pool. It was our first taste of vacationing with a baby and at this point we thought we were pros.
Two months after that, we took Liam across the country to Colorado. He didn’t know his right from his left nor do I think he even knew the difference between a dog and a cat. But on this trip, we drove past an open field of roaming buffalo, and we watched as Liam’s eyes lit up at the sight of these huge creatures. We hiked to the top of a mountain and watched as he squinted his little face as he reached down and touched snow for the very first time.
And then in 2017, we traveled to the coast of Maine where he (and mom and dad) saw puffins for the first time, which he still talks about to this day with a smile on his face. And now as I am writing this, we still have bags unpacked from a 10-day trip to Banff, Canada. I would be lying if I didn’t say traveling with a two year old is definitely harder than with a baby. He had to figure out how to sleep in a place that wasn’t his home, how to nap during a time that wasn’t really ideal, and how to make do with a library of only 10 books instead of his usual overflowing bookcases. And we as adults had to learn that sometimes itineraries have to change, hikes might take just a little bit longer, and sometimes finding a playground wins over finding a brewery. People have said to us before, “what a shame he won’t remember the trip.” And they are right, he probably won’t really remember the trip the way we do. But just as we take our children to the zoo or the park down the road from home, or even read them a book before bed, they are there growing and learning new things. Through every sight and sound and experience we had in Banff, Liam was there with us. He may not remember. But I know that having him there with us is something I will never ever forget.