We lived in Germany as a young expat couple and a decade later traveled back to show our daughter and her seven-year-old brother our favorite haunts. I thought it promised to be a sweet walk down memory-lane, where our kids would enjoy stepping squarely into the footprints my husband and I had left years ago.
Instead, they insisted on pulling us in new directions, almost as if they, first-timers in Germany, were the tour-guides. A huge dancing mess of little prints resulted, sprinkled wildly around our larger ones. I should have known the kids would insist on making their own footprints, creating original memories driven by them.
They transformed our time in Germany into a nonstop quest to conquer towers.
Any signage with Schloss (castle), Feste (stronghold), or Burg (fortress) sent our car careening in that direction as if driven by the giggling youth in the backseat. Without exception, we would climb to the upmost height of the ruin, up the cramped, damp, spiral stairs to the lookout tower.
These ruins–unlike American historic sites—lacked the warning signs, the guardrails, the attendants and the guides. There were no disclaimers posted, no emergency phones available if help were needed, no brochure map to navigate the castle ruin’s maze. Kids sprinting from dungeon to teetering tower were solely under the protection of their parents.
Read in full at Houston Family Magazine.
Read in full at The Manifest-Station. “I posed a million-dirham ($272,260.72 into today’s US dollar) question: “Do the children of Dubai play in sandboxes?” Our family, newly transplanted from the Washington, DC area where sandboxes had provided our children with hours of fun in earlier years, mulled over this question the summer we moved temporarily to the desert metropolis of Dubai. Even with all of Dubai’s development, if one catapulted high enough above the impressive skyline, Dubai seemed not too unlike one massive sandbox with ribbons of various roads lying thickly near the coast and rapidly thinning out in numbers the further away from the sandbox’s edge of the Arabian Sea, until only interminable sand remained.
The subject of driving, however, quickly claimed our attention as it rapidly morphed to the level of top priority. This critical arena of living required quick-study because learning this new turf involved navigating Dubai’s roads, roads which often betrayed the foundation they were laid upon: sand.
Continue reading “Through the Sand: A Driving Lesson From Dubai”
My husband and I were living in Germany when I became pregnant for the first time. I had no idea back then how our daughter’s birth overseas would be the beginning of a family narrative that would shape my children’s lives so distinctly.
I received my doctor’s hearty approval—Kein Problem! — to vacation in Tuscany two months before my due-date. With great expectations, we joined our old German friends, transported to Florence in their sleek black Mercedes. Perhaps my doctor would have felt regret a few days later had he witnessed my husband and me standing in the wrong queue at the spectacular Il Duomo. We believed we were in line to see the cathedral, not climb to the top of the dome.
So it was, at 7-months pregnant I found myself climbing the notoriously winding, narrow stairwell of the Il Duomo. Four-hundred sixty-three steps with baby inside. It was claustrophobic. The air was stale. The thickness of other sweaty human beings clambering to the top pressed unforgivingly into my personal space: my rounded belly. Back on solid earth, I thought of what would have happened had I gone into labor then and there, in that tight, dank, ancient stairwell. I’d taken a risk, but since everything had turned out well, I was overjoyed to have that glorious view over Florence forever printed in my mind.
The mysterious relationship between pregnant woman and her unborn child is elusive. I was going on with my unorthodox life, carting my little unborn daughter along, unmindful of injecting a spirit of adventure in her.
We grew to be a family of four and lived for a short time in Dubai. Arabic music delighted us and we acclimated to the call of worship punctuating the air throughout the day.
Read the full story on SheKnows.
Sometimes when great plans fall apart, something just as beautiful emerges.
It’s an honor to publish again with Grown & Flown on the topic of teens and spring break~
“Our senior daughter asked to fly out-of-state for a spring break trip to visit her best friend in Indianapolis where we used to live. “With college coming, I need to say my good-byes,” she said. She planned on attending college overseas and the significance of leaving friendships behind was real. We appreciated her intentional care for the good people in her life and this particular friendship was rare. After giving it some thought, we gave our permission for her to take this trip.
Yet, I smarted with this abrupt departure from family tradition. As a tight-knit family, we’d never vacationed separately and I tingled with a bittersweet mixture of emotions. It was her last spring break before college and she wanted to do something without us. Much as I understood her desire to see her dear friend, it was enlightening that she was willing to forego a family vacation and the host of memories and inside-jokes that would invariably be added to family lore. This was a signal among others that she was readying herself to leave. At her age, I knew her desire was a healthy one, this eagerness to chart her own course.”
Read in full here. Thank you for your comments!
It’s really fun to remember this trip, taken so many years ago during the early days of family adventure. Germany will always have a special place in my heart. Glad to join Today Parenting Team’s discussion on travel & kids.
“We lived in Germany as a young expat couple and gave birth to our first child a mere ten days before returning to the US. Ten years passed before we could travel back to introduce our daughter to her birthplace, and show her and her seven-year-old brother our favorite haunts. I thought it promised to be a sweet walk down memory-lane.
I hoped our kids would enjoy stepping squarely into the footprints my husband and I had left years ago. Instead, they insisted on pulling us in new directions, almost as if they, first-timers in Germany, were the tour-guides. A huge dancing mess of little prints resulted, sprinkled wildly around our larger ones. I should have known the kids would insist on making their own footprints, creating original memories driven by them.”
Read in full here.
If you can get through this, you can get through anything.
If you consider your family life healthy don’t test it by going to IKEA for the day, especially if you have recently moved overseas to an unfamiliar city such as London, with previous stops along the way in exotic-but-foreign places.
I’ve recently recovered from a family outing to a London IKEA after making just such a protracted international move. I’d prepared for our journey to IKEA well in advance, measuring every potential living and storage arrangement possible in our 900-square-foot flat.
Except for clothing and personal effects, we’d moved with nothing. Our flat was empty and a robust shopping trip was needed for items such as tomorrow morning’s cup for my American cup-of-coffee.
Read in full on YourTango.
“When our son was 4, he fell in love. The object of his affection was voluptuous—far too old for him. He saw her constantly. She had long flowing hair and intense eyes. He called her his “little love.” The crown she wore lent an air of power while sleek fins encircling her projected steady but enticing mystery.
The fact that our son was smitten by the Starbucks Mermaid was our fault.
One of our oldest family traditions is spending Saturday mornings at the local coffee shop. Started long before kids came along, this easy-going tradition was a sweet opening to weekends. We didn’t have a lot of money and the coffee shop fit our wallet. Wherever we lived, we targeted the local, indie or chain, just as long as we could reach it by foot. Whether sunny and blistering hot, wintry and blowing icy winds, we’d wake up and sleepily trudge towards the coffee shop hand in hand.
When we started having kids, going out for coffee each Saturday morning was a tradition we were determined to continue. We selfishly coveted this entrée into the weekend as a young couple and didn’t want kids to change this beloved routine.”
Read in full on Brain, Child.
This is it, folks—the full story on elephant journal. Originally published in a
condensed version by Great Moments in Parenting, I had a passion for seeing
this story more comprehensively understood, for the sake of begging the
question once and for all: shouldn’t we all just ditch our rigid travel
agendas? Isn’t it the bare unknown that is by definition adventure? You tell
Depicting a family trip to Germany taken ten years after my husband and I had lived there sans kids, this short essay probes the possibility of memories robbing the present if one isn’t careful. Today’s experiences, after all, are tomorrow’s memories.
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