I just read an awesome article written by Conor Grennan on Huffington Post called “An Open Letter to the Non-Parents on My Flight“, and I have to chuckle to myself at how you begin to realize how much your circumstances have changed and will continue to change for the rest of your life as a parent. I say awesome article, because it now fits my circumstance, and I suppose could argue that it fit my circumstance before children as well, I was just sitting on the other side of the seat!
Living this last year in Europe and having about 7 international flights with a two year old and 2 international flights with a two year old and a newborn, each lasting anywhere from 16-20 hours in duration with layovers, I can confirm every observation Conor makes is accurate. In the beginning of this journey, my wife and I worried so much more about disturbing other fliers, and its not that we still don’t, we just try to focus our energies even more on entertaining the little ones to avoid the potential melt-downs.
As our time living abroad starts winding down, my amazing wife has some wonderful road trips planned for the family to take full advantage of living here. This weekend is a nice four hour drive up to Normandy to see the beaches our Soldiers stormed 70 years ago, to show our two-year-old Jack, and three-month-old Venice some hallowed ground, and to pay our respects to those who did not make it off those beaches.
The next challenge is a 2,700 mile trip from France through Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Switzerland, back into Germany (for a much needed beer at Oktoberfest) and finally back into France! Whew! I’m exhausted just writing it! On the plus side, we will get to see some amazing sights, hike some beautiful trails and hit up 7 Hard Rock Cafes! When my wife, Crystal, and I were married in Venice, Italy…we had gone about a week without “American” food and happened to find the HRC…and we thought it would be nice to pick up a collector pin as a memento of our time there. From that point on we have collected them all over the world, and it has kind of become ‘our thing’. And since having children, I know collect margarita glasses!!
I have spoken to family and friends who have children, young and older, and you should see the look on their faces when we tell them our plans for all these travels. They are wide-eyed with amazement and probably at least a bit of concern for our sanity. Crystal and I feel that having children should not slow down or impede life at all…it should enhance each experience. Though neither of them will retain memories of all these trips, Jack may start having vague memories I suppose, but we will have those times together that hopefully foster an active and close-knit family throughout the rest of our lives. That, and we’ll have a ton of pictures!
So I guess what I’m trying to say in my “Open Letter to the Non-Parents on My Flight” through life…..you don’t know what you’re missing!
Image Credit: Paul Schultz