We just took our kids on vacation. Since Mike is an accountant and does all the the tax work for his firm, we don't travel from January to late May. He's just too busy during those months, so it's next to impossible to get away as a family. The last few years we've taken a family vacation in the fall. This year we had planned to take the kids to Disney World, but just as we started planning, one of my brothers announced he'd be getting married in November at Lake Tahoe. We decided to scrap our Disney World plans and do something that could incorporate going to my brother's wedding.
At first, the kids were disappointed. They've never been to Disney World and the shininess of it was alluring. But we assured them they'd have a great time on our trip despite not going to Disney World.
Since we were staying on the west coast, we decided to drive and mapped out a 9-day road trip with stops in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, San Francisco and Anaheim (for Disneyland).
There were lots of yummy dinners. There was the world's biggest Ferris wheel. There were sightseeing tours and ferry trips. There was breakfast with Mickey Mouse. But guess what? If you ask my kids what the best part of the trip was, it wouldn't be any of these things. Their favorite part was simple: seeing their cousins. Sure they had fun doing all the awesome things along the way, but the part that mattered the most was spending time with family and playing with their cousins.
This got me thinking. Why really matters? Is it the shiny, expensive stuff? Nope. It's the stuff that expands our heart. It's the simple stuff. I spend a lot of time obsessing of things that really matter. Hearing my kids declare cousin time as their favorite part of our trip was a sharp reminder that I'm placing my focus in the wrong spot.
Once again, my children are the teachers and I'm the student. It's not the fancy, exspensive things that matter. What matters most is family. What matters most is the time we spend together. As we head into the holiday season, I hope to keep this lesson at the forefront of my mind and heart. Less stuff and more time and family ... That's what really matters.