Sure, it’s nice to look back on family vacations and talk about the highlights, but sometimes the lowlights provide fodder for years of laughter and memories. Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn recently posted about how his family turned a recent vacation lowlight into a highlight.

Years ago when my husband and boys (then 4 and 6) were touring around Arizona, the “boy energy” in our minivan got to be a bit much. We pulled off the side of the road, freed the boys from their car seats and stood them out in the deserted desert where we let them scream and whoop to their content before we packed them back up for a calmer drive. (Of course screaming and whooping into the desert wind was apparently less fun than shouting and crying in the minivan, but that’s another story.)

We all hope for a trip that has more ups than downs, but in the end it’s all about creating shared experiences and lasting memories. Sometimes it can take weeks or months to see the value of a negative experience, but in the end most of us come around.

Do you have a family vacation story that you can laugh about now?

Kim Moldofsky also blogs at Hormone-colored Days.