As you know, we were on spring break with Kristin and her three boys and it has been great fun. We had a suite at the Marriott so we were around the kids most of the time and it has been a long time since Janet and I have travelled with children so young – in fact, a generation or so since our kids went on family vacations with us.
And while I remember those trips, I am taken back even further in my thoughts tonight – to when I was a boy and my parents took us on car trips. We really couldn’t afford to fly, so it was usually in the family station wagon that we headed out to places like Cullman, Alabama or Beaumont, Mississippi. Not exactly top 10 destinations for most people, but Dad had business in those towns and so that is where we went. One year, we went to Williamsburg, Virginia and had a wonderful time. Dad had a vendor in Newport News and we got to stay near the historic district.
Although Dad had to work a day or two, but on balance it was a terrific vacation. Who would have known back then that Williamsburg would become one of my favorite destinations in the country? Janet’s folks and her younger sister’s family all live in Williamsburg today, so we are blessed to occasionally be able to spend time there.
I think the reason that I am thinking so much about family vacations is that my Mom and Dad would have been married 64 years this week if they were still alive. And Dad would have celebrated his 89th birthday as well. Unfortunately, both of them are long since gone, which is a little weird for Janet because both her parents are still going strong and she doesn’t know what it is like to yearn to talk to Mom or Dad on the phone like I do. All she has to do is pick up the phone and dial. Voila – instant communication with her parents. And it’s been a long time since I was able to do that…. I do, however, have the greatest mother-in-law and father-in-law one could hope for. And since I have known them since I was a little kid, it is kind of like having a second set of parents. It’s just strange to realize that I have known them longer than I knew my own parents.
Janet remembers spring break with her family as well. I think that almost every child forms memories that are in part born of the events that happen on family trips each spring. I am hoping that this is the case with Kristin’s boys. Their lives are changing drastically with the move to a new home and the divided living arrangements that will happen as a result of the divorce of their parents. Hopefully, as we see them even more than we have in the past, they will be able to be a regular part of our trips and will build fond memories of our times together on the road.
After all, they saw Kristin slide right back in to the rhythms of the way we travel and they have all had a great time. In fact, Tuesday I went in the ocean with the boys and we all jumped through the waves together. Funny how I remember doing that same thing with Kristin, Jill and Andrew when they were little kids as well. How quickly time passes. Sometimes it seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
And another thing – it is still so comfortable to travel with Kristin. It’s like she never left. I guess all families have their way of doing things, but it strikes me as funny that now the grandchildren are falling right into place with the family trips as well. I can’t help but hope that our everyday interactions once they establish their new home will be more seamless as well.
The Bible is full of examples of gatherings, parties and holidays – kind of like a huge spring break. One of the best illustrations comes to us in the beginning of the book of Esther. After Esther is chosen to be Queen, the King throws a great banquet for her and we are told in Esther 2:18, “And the king gave a great banquet, Esther’s banquet, for all his nobles and officials. He proclaimed a holiday throughout the provinces and distributed gifts with royal liberality.”
That’s kind of what we did this week. We tried to show the boys a great time, in their honor, so they would build fond memories of their trips with us. It’s coming to an end now – but the memories will last. My encouragement this evening is to let you know that every chance you have to spend time with your children and grandchildren is a blessing that God has given you to help them build a strong foundation in their lives. And my prayer is that you will use those times wisely to help build character and integrity in the lives of your younger family members. It will really be important as they get older and have to face the trials and tribulations of their lives – hopefully with a God centered family by their side.
Have a great day in the Lord – grace and peace,