Children simply grow up too quickly. Heather and I were out to dinner in January on a date night when the subject matter of children naturally arose. Scarlett’s humor, Savannah’s sensitivity, and Jonathan’s recent growth spurt were the topics at hand when we were suddenly struck by terrible thought. Jonathan is growing up. We quickly began to do the math and realized that we only had Jonathan for 6 more summers before he’d be heading out to college. Stunned, we sat there for several minutes watching our appetizer grow cold.

Vacations Have to Be Planned

Family vacations don’t just happen.  They have to be budgeted, booked, & organized.  Regardless of financial limitations and calendar restrictions every family can take a vacation together. Here are a few keys to keep in mind:

Beware of Comparison

In the age of social media please remember, your vacation does have to be their vacation.  You and your children will have a great time doing what you’ve decided that you’ll be able to do.  Some of the greatest options are inexpensive options.  Camping within a 6 hour drive, 3 nights in a Budget Inn near the beach, and spending a week with family or friends are all wonderful options which we have enjoyed.

Book It

As soon as you’ve identified the week and time-off request has been granted – book it. By putting down payment or partial payment significantly increases the probability that you won’t cancel this important event.

Save, Save, Save

I’ve learned that family vacations don’t have to be budget busters if you’re willing to put away a little bit every paycheck. $50 every two weeks equals a solid $1,300 for your annual trip.

Days Have to Be Scheduled

Growing up my family took every Monday together. We knew regardless of life’s twists and turns, Monday would be our day with the Fam. In our home we take every Saturday. We go swimming, drive to Redrock Canyon, go to a Little League game, play Clue, or just watch a movie together.  Sometimes we’ll clean the house as a family and then just go and get Slurpees. Notwithstanding, these days must be scheduled if they are to actually happen.

 

Moments Have to Be Captured

Throughout life moments happen for which you could’ve never planned.  This is called serendipity and it’s a beautiful thing. Sadly, we are so busy we often allow these moments to pass without capturing and savoring them. Capture the bedtime moment when the story being told is just too silly to repress a giggle.  Capture the family-table moment when the question asked is too honest to be ignored.  Capture the driving-home-from-church moment when the statement about Jesus is too precious to be forgotten.  These moments come fast and frequent, we just have to be ready when they come.

 

Yep, I know, a little too sappy and sentimental, right?  I guess so. I just know that pretty soon those little beds will be empty, the car will be finally clean, and at the family table will be sitting a slightly older (though surprisingly fit, fashionable, and attractive) couple with years of memories to treasure.