The word road trip for many of us brings back memories of a certain sort from our younger days – driving around, drinking beers, pulling shenanigans and having a great time! All these things filled my head Monday morning as we pulled out of the driveway, Debbie, Rebecca, our niece Ruby and me…Wait, did I just hear the sound effect of a needle dragging across a record? Not the type of road trip you were expecting? Last major road trip I did like this was with Debbie and Gab, looking at colleges, same as we did this past week. At 51, there is no longer debauchery going on in road trips! This was, however, an important trip to uncover a mystery - what type of college does Rebecca want to attend? As with Gab, we loved the going and visiting schools, but truth be told, between you and me, the best part is spending the time together as a family.
Interestingly enough, during this past weekend, while Bec spent the weekend with Gab at the University of Hartford, Debbie and I took the opportunity to see a movie together. As a minor part of the movie we saw, the main character, played by Kevin Costner, had been away from his family for a long time and does not know how to be a father to his daughter. During the movie, I realized that we take for granted our relationships with our children and spouses. In the movie, he had to ask other people and learn from them how to interact with his child. Being a family, working together and having a positive experience does not automatically happen, but must be worked at to become a strong family unit. As parents, we need to take the lead in these actions. We cannot expect others to make this happen for us, nor hope and pray that it magically coalesces into existence.
During the past week, we drove over 500 hundred miles, in which we saw 5 colleges and ended up with the weekend in Hartford. We had a chance to see larger universities, city schools and artsy type colleges. After each stop, we took the time to sit, review and write down what we saw, and came to some conclusions as to what was liked, and what was not. We did this together as a family, the four of us. We had time for goofing off (sometimes at my expense), time for swimming, laughing and an overall great experience. The key word – WE. As we wrapped up the weekend with Gab, Bec got to have a firsthand experience being on campus and is now ready to finish up her high school career and take the next step. Argh!!! Our little girl is growing up and talking about “leaving us at home”. It is ok; it is the natural order of things. We have had the time to spend together up until now, and that time is precious. As we learned with Gab, she may be away at school, but in the end, we still are a family and do things together, including road trips. For that, we are blessed.