A few months back we took a family camping trip to Mackinaw City, Michigan. I loved this trip because the area we camped in was gorgeous, the weather was very cool for mid-July, and it was just a nice getaway in the middle of a hectic summer.
This was also a pioneer trip because it was the first time we had gone tent camping with our 6 younger children, the youngest being 3! Some of you might call that a suicide mission, and you would be right.
Here’s a couple of pictures from the trip…
On one particular afternoon, as I watched my children play, I began to think about all the things that I had learned from just a few days on vacation in Michigan. Here are 4 of them….
1. I love my family!
I just really love every single one of these people. They make me smile. I love my wife’s graceful ways. I love my 4 son’s energy (sometimes LOTS of energy). I love my 10 year old daughter’s creative and humorous personality. I love my 11-year old daughter’s adventurous and care-free spirit. I am blessed to have such an amazing, beautiful family!
2. People are weird, including us.
Just look at the picture above- we’re a walking freak show! We’re okay with that. We know we are weird. I think somewhere between my 3-year old picking up a stick and pretending to shoot people we passed on the street, and my daughter making up songs that she sang and danced to in the middle of crowds of people with no fear, we solidified our weirdness. But I also noticed the people around us- there was the man who walked to the showers every morning wearing nothing (and I do mean nothing) but boxer shorts with a towel slung over his shoulder. And then we had the pleasure of camping next to a family who went to bed at 9 pm (seriously, who does that when they’re camping?) and expected everyone else in the camp to turn all lights off and stop talking when they did. Yes, it was an interesting week from the weirdness point of view!
3. I was way too stressed out.
I needed a break. In fact, we all did. The summer was running us ragged. I believe every family should have time away like we had. I know it’s not always feasible but it’s so healthy and needed. It was valuable time for us to reconnect and recalibrate, especially before another school year began.
4. My family deserves my best.
I made the decision, before this trip began, to disconnect myself from my work back home during the course of this vacation. I didn’t check email or answer phone calls or texts for 13 days. Guess what? I didn’t miss out on anything. No one died, the church didn’t fall apart in my absence, and life, as we know it, went on.
While disconnecting entirely (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) is still a work in progress for me, I realized that my family deserves uninterrupted time and focus. They deserve the best part of my energy and love. Of course there will be demanding times when deadlines are knocking on my door and people are in need of this and that. But I have to save the best part of me for the people that matter the most!
Question- Have you had similar take-aways or lessons from a recent vacation? What were they?