Monday, April 23, 2012

Why You Need To Take A Family Vacation

I have a theory about family vacations...
You remember them.

I've thought about this quite a bit and have come to some important conclusions 
about holidays and why we need to take them with our kids.

I was lucky enough to live with parents who valued family vacations.
So I've had the opportunity to do a little research on the subject
both as a child and as a parent.

I think it is important for me to state for the record that I have a terrible memory.
Don't ask me if I've watched a particular movie,
or who the characters were in a book I read six months ago.

It's gone.
For good.

This is particularly true of memories of my childhood.
The day to day comings and goings are quite hazy.

However if you ask me about the trip I took with my family to Bermuda
when I was fourteen.
I can pretty much tell you every single thing we did
and where we went and what we ate,
and what my sisters were wearing
and if I try really hard I can even imagine specific conversations.

So many details, and they are all exceptionally clear.

This is true of any trip or vacation I have ever taken with my family as a child 
and now I'm finding it to be the same with my own children.

It's as if these "out of the ordinary" moments
are somehow inexplicably seared into my brain.

It could be that during a holiday,
we simply take more pictures, allowing the memories to be captured forever.

This would be very true of the pre DSLR era,
when photos were taken more frugally.
Are my memories due to the photo album
so often looked at that the pages are falling out tattered and worn?

I'm not sure?
I have family photos of Christmas and Easter and they do not bring back
the flood of memories I have of special vacations.
I think there is something more.

I've wondered if it could be that while taking time away,
we are actually present with each other
without the noise and distractions that are part of our daily life.
And this allows us to soak in the moments rather than let them pass us by.

Maybe our brains are simply wired to remember the out of the ordinary,
the surroundings that are so different from the usual?

The food, the smells, the sound of waves?
Whatever the reason,
I have been fortunate enough to be able to collect 
wonderful holiday memories with The Agronomist and my girls.

I think my parents realized this theory long ago,
and wanted to continue the memories with their children and grandchildren.

It is because of them, 
we have had the opportunity to visit some beautiful places in the world.
I have three sisters.
Every year one of us gets a turn to take a holiday with our parents using a timeshare
they can book anywhere in the world.

This year we went to Maui.

This year
my parents sent us alone.
My mother's health made it impossible for her to go
and we missed them greatly.

It's a gift I can't put a price on.

You see, now that the girls are older,
it is really starting to feel like a holiday for mom and dad too.
Four years ago, Youngest was only five.

Four years has made a big difference.
They were all so independent and helpful.
And mostly they were happy.
We had such a great time.

I know for a fact that I will be able to recall
the amazing shave ice we had in Lahaina,
and that Ulua was definitely our favourite beach.

I'll always remember the way Middlest screamed and screamed
as a school of fish decided to swim all around her legs making it impossible
for her to get out of the water.

I'll remember how much The Agronomist and Eldest enjoyed snorkelling together.
We will always remember the coconut M&M's we discovered,
and the fish tacos,
and how when Youngest's head hit the pillow she. was. out.

Something that never happens at home.

While we have been home for almost a week now.
I see a change in our family.
We are more patient with each other.

We are talking about some of things we did and enjoying laughs over the memories.
We are relaxed.
It feels good to be home.

We love each other again : )

I don't think this phenomenon is select to only far off destinations.
I believe it can happen in smaller ways when we take the time.
When we step out of our ordinary 'day to day' existence
and make the time to really spend the hours and the minutes with each other?
That is when our memories our made.
Spending moments with each other without any interruptions, doing things that we enjoy.
And a little shave ice on the side?
It might possibly the "secret" ingredient that helps those memories become truly cemented.

That's my theory anyway.
And I'm sticking to it.


Jenny Matlock
parenting BY dummiesSweet Shot Day

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  1. What a wonderful trip! I am sorry your mom couldn't be with you.

  2. So that's wear you've been...Hawaii! How wonderful for your family to get away. I like your theory...makes total sense to me. We are going to the beach (not in Hawaii!) the end of June....sure wish you could come and take all of my pictures for me! Oh how I would love a fun family one...we have never had a professional family picture taken.

  3. We weren't to Hawaii for Davids job when Drew was only 4months old. I loved it!! We would love to take all the kids there someday!! Once again your photos amaze me!! What a wonderful trip!

  4. I love Hawaii. LOVE it. I'm so glad you had a great vacation. What island were you on? I was trying to guess but couldn't figure it out. I've been to Oahu and Kauai. Oh how I want to go back now. I love coconut m&ms and sometimes can find them here in Texas. Shave ice....I love it. I get annoyed when people say "shaved ice". haha. All of your pictures are so wonderful, and your words here are beautiful. So glad you are home safe and sound too. xo.

  5. Really awesome photos! Makes me want to go on vacation NOW! I love the sunset photo of the children jumping.

  6. Dana! These picture were amazing. Look like you guys had a great time! I'm now enjoying vacations with my grands.

    And I would love to go where you did!

    Have a blessed day!

  7. as always, dana, what amazing and compelling photos - just gorgeous! combined with your words, this is one of my favorite posts - it really got me thinking and YES ... I totally agree about my memory being (uncharacteristically) razor sharp when it comes to childhood family vacations - very cool! so happy for you guys that the time spent in paradise was made all the more special by the memories you made together :) welcome home!!

  8. Amen. This. You. Them. Beautiful. Perfect. xo

  9. What beautiful photographs, I really love them. I want to go on vacation, now. I love what you have written and agree wholeheartedly with this sentence

    I've wondered if it could be that while taking time away,
    we are actually present with each other
    without the noise and distractions that are part of our daily life.
    And this allows us to soak in the moments rather than let them pass us by.

    I think we need time to connect, to switch off, to just be with others, away from the realities of daily life.

    Thank you for such a great post

  10. That looks like a great vacation. I love going away with my family, i think it has to do with the fact that i stop worrying about cooking and cleaning and my to-do list. I am just there and i love it!
    I am so glad you enjoyed it!

  11. I think you are right about vacations. And I love the Lahaina shave ice, too!


  12. Oh this is such a lovely post- both in words & in images. I have not been to Hawaii in 17 years. I would love to take my kids one day.

  13. I am so regretting that we've never done family vacations. But...cost and house projects and a million other things have kept us from experiencing this time together. And now my girls are grown and gone and the son is about to leave home for college. However, at Easter, we were all five together at our daughter's apartment in eastern Wisconsin and we went to a Paper Discover Center and made paper together. And I took lots of pictures and it was fun.

    So glad you have these wonderful family memories.

    And welcome back. I wondered what had happened to you and missed your posts.

  14. OH, I LOVE this! Your processing here really helped me too. Madeline L'engle talks about the difference between watching the clock and kairos time and I think what we experience on vacations in a change of place is true kairos - God time. We go to our family cottage in Canada every summer and the world falls off of us and we become our true selves. And like you, I have a terrible memory, just Fb'd about all the things I forgot today, but I remember the times away vividly. Really enjoyed this post and SO glad you visited me today.

  15. I wondered where you have been! So glad you are back, full of happy memories to treasure forever.

  16. I am a big fan of Hawaii, or should I say spending time in Hawaii.Maui is a fabulous island. Your pictures did a fantastic job of painting a picture. Looks like you had a great time.

  17. "I've wondered if it could be that while taking time away,
    we are actually present with each other
    without the noise and distractions that are part of our daily life."


    Vacations with babies and toddlers are very stressful. I am really looking forward to starting to take them more enjoyably!

  18. Beautiful pictures. Vacations are good anytime. Wish I could take one now.

  19. Hawaii??


    I can't think of a more wonderful place. We just went online tonight looking at off season fares. Best we found were hotel/airfare for 1100 per person/from Wisconsin.

    Four nights, 5 days: SO TEMPTING.

    Life: it only happens once.

    Beautiful photos, beautiful children, beautiful text.

    Thank you, D.


  20. Oh gosh, how I love this. I grew up with parents who know the value of the family vacation too and yes, also passing it on to my kids.

    Looks and sounds like you all had an AMAZING time together. I adore your photos and your words. :)

  21. This is such a wonderful post! Thank you for letting me know that vacations are possible with kids. I love the holidays my husband and I have taken and you are absolutely right...the details stay! You got some great shots that the kids will love when they get older. I really like the silhouette shots and that foot shot is brilliant! :)

  22. LOVE all the shots! Looks like an awesome and memorable vacation! :)

    Family vacations are definitely important - our family would vacation every year when I was growing up, and I'm glad my hubby is on board to do that now with our family. We go on a trip every year - and you're so right, those memories will last a lifetime!

    Cat Nap

  23. what a wonderfully written Blog well done I miss the holidays that went with family life. Now divorced there are no trips .

  24. I remember the family vacations as well, Dana. In fact, many years ago I made a small shell wreath and included a piece of bright yellow sea weed that I had found on the beach when I was 13. The wreathe hangs in my guest bath, and the sea weed, now 57 years old, still looks fresh.

    This year, we are taking two of our sons and their children back to the vacation spot we took them when they were young.

  25. What a huge blessing! Sounds and looks wonderful! The memories are priceless and this time and ages of your girls is perfect for sure! Glad you had such a great time in a beautiful place!
    More pics please...and a photo tutorial or 2 would be most helpful.

  26. I know how much impact vacations AND get togethers have on some of our adult kids, because they want to go with us! One time we snuck off alone, because we were both so exhausted, we needed some R & R by ourselves!

  27. So glad you posted. We've missed you.

    Girl, your photo skills are really getting amazing. WOW.

    I guess it doesn't hurt to be taking pictures . . . in HAWAII!

  28. Hi again!

    Visiting from Mrs Matlock’s, thanks for stopping by and look forward to *seeing* you again soon!

    Great post – great memories.

    Have a great weekend too.

  29. Beautiful pictures ! As a child my parents sent me to my grandma and went alone on holidays ! Family holidays I made with Mr. G. and our son.

  30. I am taking all the kids and grandkids to Oregon for a week in July. I rented a big old beach house and I am so excited I can hardly stand it! The littlest grandson is about a year and I am so looking forward to spoiling him!

  31. I agree 100%, vacations are a great way to make and save family memories. And you don't have to go to a far off place, a day trip to a lake or an amusement park is a vacation for kids. Thanks for sharing yours, Nan
    PS, I'm shopping for a DSLR, if you get a second, could you tell me what you are using and pros and cons?

  32. wow, this is a wonderful post! loved reading about your reflection on family vacations and their importance...with great shots to throw in too! thanks for sharing :)

  33. This is a beautiful post. I'm so sorry your Mom couldn't go along with your beautiful family.

  34. Wonderful photos, memories and writing. I think we tend to remember what's important to us...for whatever reason. My sister and I are 18 moths apart in age but she remembers totally different things from our childhood.

  35. it's great to have time with the family, relax and do new and exciting things. This month, my sister and brother and spouses are going with a nephew, me and mom to Italy! We love going places and being with each other! {:-Deb

  36. Totally agree! and so well said!
    It was definitely the vacations I took with my family when growing up that I remember the most.
    Vacations with my husband and children are also memorable. We laughed, we adventured, we played, we ate together. There were certain things that happened or were said that became repeated to each other over and over.
    You said-- "we are actually present with each other." Yes, and present to the moment as well.
    Vacation time spent with family is a treasure forever.

    I love the photo of the jumping children silhouetted against the sunset.

  37. So true! They remember them. Plus, you take tons of pictures to help everyone remember them. I SO want to take my family to Hawaii someday. It looks like a wonderful vacation, and your kids are beautiful!

  38. Family holidays are extra specially important! I have fond memories of holidays with my parents when I was a child and also of holidays with my family now. The shared experiences bring us even closer together.

  39. LOVE the pic of your girls jumping up in the sunset ~ too cute!

  40. Dana,
    Just love this post!!! I feel the very same about family vacations!! We just had an awesome vacation on St. Pete Beach FL with picture perfect weather and all of us agreed it was out best vacation ever!!! On our list is Hawaiii...someday!!! hugs, cathy

  41. I agree! My parents were big on family vacations also. Family vacations and simple family TIME are what I most remember. And the family photos keep that magic alive for you forever. Your photos are gorgeous. Ones you and your children will treasure.

  42. Oops I forgot your A+...

    Wonderful post for the letter W.

  43. awesome picures (I'm a little late visiting from Jenny Matlock)

  44. These image were awesome. Look like you people had an excellent time! I'm now experiencing holidays with my grands.


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