Gen Next

Our group just claimed another first as the oldest child in the group graduated from high school! Those that read this blog for advice, be warned–this post is long on nostalgia and limited to a single piece of advice. Here we go!

You have likely surmised that we have built many traditions in our years of traveling together. One of our earliest, and completely unintended, traditions involved who would announce a pregnancy on the trip. On our very first trip, the lone couple with a child made a detour to drop their newborn with grandparents. As we sat around the campfire, someone asked, “how far apart in age do you want your kids?” The response of “about 19 months” had the rest of us doing quick math and realizing the impact of it! With another reveal the following year, the tradition grew! 

We now have 12 children between the four families. Not all pregnancies were announced on the trip, but with the exception of that first child, I think all our kids participated in their first trip in utero. And now we start a new season of traditions! With the oldest child having just graduated and the youngest finishing up kindergarten, we all have graduation commitments in most of the next dozen years. In fact, we have already done the math; besides the set of twins, only two other kids will share a graduation year

As we celebrated Libby*, the graduate, with a reception in her honor, my eyes returned over and over to the slideshow of memories looping on a monitor. There were enough pictures from our trips for it to be obvious that she had literally grown up as part of this extended family! Seeing the pictures from various trips pop up on her graduation slideshow convinces me, not only that I cannot imagine the group without her, but that that our graduate would agree the trips have added moments to the highlight reel of her life to date.

As the oldest, she established herself as the responsible reliable big sister of the group. The younger kids adore her, especially the little girls. From helping wrangle the other kids to teaching impromptu cheer lessons, Libby has been an example in countless ways! In fact, we probably don’t give her enough credit for how well the entire group of kids get along! 

The slideshow, too, gave the effect of watching her grow in real time. I know everyone says it, but it honestly seems to have gone impossibly fast! So, on to the clichéd, but critical advice, don’t wait for the right time to start vacationing with others; make right now the right time! If you put off planning a trip until the kids are older or you have more expendable income or work is less busy or whatever, the domino effect of time will do its thing and you will be looking back saying “I wish I would have…”!

Libby will be off to college in the fall. One of the twins summed up her perception of college as “it’s where you go to meet the people you will vacation with”! So, best of luck to her and all the graduates of 2018! May your next adventure lead you to your forever friends! Oh, and I can’t close without mentioning that Libby plans to attend our alma mater–next gen indeed!

*We use pseudonyms for all the kids throughout the blog to protect their privacy.

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