Last month my husband and I took our two girls (aged 2 and 4) on a trip to Mexico. It was our first 'out of country' trip with them and granted, I was nervous, but excited at the same time to show them a new place and a new culture.
We'd arranged to stay in a friends place right on the beach and before we went we read Lonely Planet and checked out some websites and thought about some excursions we might like to take.
Then we arrived. Then the girls saw the pool. Then the girls saw the beach. And, well, that's about all we saw for the 2 weeks we were away. So much for the planned excursions.
This vacation taught me a few things:
1) The value of deprogramming
Our lives are like yours, pretty rush-rush. Always trying to get to various places on time. How great it was to do nothing each day and just enjoy our time together and dig in the sand and walk the beach. Although we never had anything to do, the girls were never bored and their imaginations flourished. The idea of an excursion seemed like work when we factored in diaper bags, naps, snacks, changes of clothes, bus transfers and the like.
2) The value of nature
We're lucky. We live here in Banff and every walk out our front door is a lesson in biology and natural history. A short walk in the woods to a friend's place and we see deer and elk scat, pinecones and various different trees and bugs that delight the kids. So a chance to play in sand and feel the ocean washing between our toes was an amazing change from what we're used to. It freaked the girls out a little bit but they soon began to comment on and delight in the noise of the ocean, the smell of the salt water and the size of the waves. It's important for kids to get dirty, to dig in the dirt and play with water. In fact, last week the White House hosted a conference on America's Great Outdoors speaking specifically to the value of getting kids outside and in touch with nature.
3) The value of time together
There's no doubt we referreed our share of fights over sand shovels, but it was really nice to see our girls become friends. To see the oldest take care of and develop appreciation for her little sister and to hear her say "Mommy, I love my baby sister." more often than "Mom, she stole my barbie doll." was magic to my ears. We met other families and played with other kids in the pool and the beach sometimes, but mostly we were happy to get to know each other again.
In a few years we'll be able to take the girls on a CMH Family Adventure so they can walk on a glacier, try their hands at rock climbing, examine the amazing rocks and minerals in the Columbia Mountains and hear the stories of the early explorers like Conrad Kain. But for now, the slow pace of this family adventure was just the antidote we needed for our busy lives.
CMH's Family Adventures offer the perfect mix of programming and spontenaity for children aged 5-15. A chance to get up-close and personal with Mother Nature and appreciate the earth beneath our feet. Call our Heli-Hiking experts at 1.800.661.0252 start planning your family adventure!