Four kids, ten days, seven states, 2200 miles. Last month we set out on the ultimate family vacation. Did I mention four kids? It's important to distinguish between a vacation, with your spouse or friends, and a trip, which involves kids and usually leaves you more tired than when you left.
We fired up the minivan and went all out, cross country style with stops in Columbus, Philadelphia, New York and Cleveland. We returned, remarkably, absent any broken bones, mysterious rashes or lingering food poisoning.
It's hard enough to coordinate family schedules. Between school, sports, choirs, camps and friends we found ourselves circling a few precious weeks on the calendar that work for everyone. There's also the realization, with two teenagers, that this might be the last true family vacation as kids grow up and make tough choices (rightly so) about how to spend their time.
When we arrived at our Times Square hotel my son walked through the door to our room first, headed towards the window and said, simply, "Good job Dad."
Yeah that's right, I'm cool!! The Heavyweight Champion Dad:
Summer fades into fall and suddenly we are back to school, clubs and sports; a schedule that is no longer my own. But we created memories that will last a lifetime.
We didn't have any limos, private jets or oceanside views. My favorite moments were wandering around Manhattan and night swims with the kids at our hotels.
Travel tips? 1) Avoid Hojo's hotel Cleveland Airport. It smelled and you could toss a cat under our door. I sensed there might have been a murder the night before. 2) Teenagers won't wake up? Try musical wake up calls customized to your locale such as Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" or Elton John's "Philadelphia Freedom." Trust me, you won't have to play it twice.
I wonder what will stand out with the kids twenty years from now. When I was young my Dad took me to Harold's Hardware store every Saturday morning. To this day I get excited whenever I walk into a neighborhood True Value or Ace Hardware. We had plenty of experiences growing up but that simple image stands out.
When we returned my daughter posted a slew of pictures on Facebook in an album titled "The Trip of a Lifetime." See Rocky video.
What was your most memorable vacation? I would enjoy hearing from you.
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