When I first saw that TravelingMom was having a Twitter party on multi-generational travel/traveling with grandparents, I thought I would sit out that party, as we no longer travel with grandparents. Actually, we rarely traveled with grandparents, but we did travel a lot to visit our GaGa (grandma & great grandma). This may be the most emotional TravelingMom post I will ever write, but as I thought more about “traveling with grandparents,” I recalled one of my gal pals complaining about traveling with grandparents and how tough it could be, and I knew I must write this.
When my daughter was just a few months old our GaGa, who had lived next door to me all my life, decided it was time for her retire and move to Florence, Mississippi, live with her daughter — a 6-hour drive from my house! This was the first time in my life I had ever been more than 20 minutes away from her, so early on in Lesse’s (my daughter) life I made the decision that we would visit GaGa and do things with her as often as possible.
At first it was easy, traveling with just one child, we show up down there for Easter, Thanksgiving, her birthday, or whatever excuse I found to visit. Then came along my son and, while being a stay at home mom it was easy to go whenever I wanted, it was tough traveling with kids. Packing could be a nightmare, and driving 6 hours with just the kids was rough. However, the minute we would walk in the door at GaGa’s house I knew it was all worth it, the expression on her face, the excitement in the kid’s eyes, and the love they felt….made every mile worth it.
We would often (with the help of my aunt) take GaGa out and about, I would giggle with my aunt as we felt like we were transporting three toddlers: one in a wheelchair, one on a leash, and another in a stroller, but we had many good times. We would dine out around town, go shopping with the kids, and sometimes we just made it outside to the backyard for some sunshine…it truly did not matter what we did.
Last May, the kids and I made our last trip to Florence to see our GaGa, shortly after we left her health began to deteriorate and on November 25, 2012, our GaGa gained her angel wings and now watch over us from above. At first, my nine-year-old daughter and five-yer-old son would long for her and beg to call her or go see GaGa. Now as time has passed they will out of the blue make comments like “Momma, do you remember that time we took GaGa to the Bass Pro Shop and went alligator hunting?” They will sit for hours and glance through pictures of every trip we ever took to see GaGa, they reminisce of all the fun things GaGa would do with them, and how happy she always was to see them. My heart melts as I know all those long hours in the car, all that time packing bags, saving up gas money, and giving up one vacation for a vacation at GaGa’s was well worth it.
Fellow parents, the next time the “grandparents’ want to go I encourage you to do it, it really doesn’t matter where you go for vacation, what does matter is the memories your kids are making with their grandparents. Those memories and photos will be there forever tucked away in their little hearts, I know as we hold our memories so dear!