Over homemade jam and biscuits I visit with Jan, a mom of three and grandmother of nine. I am eager to glean from her wisdom and she’s excited to share the one thing that kept her, her husband and their children connected throughout the unnesting years.
“Family adventures have really kept us bonded. At one point we had two children in high school and one in college,” explains Jan. “Even though their lives were taking off in various directions, the memories made during those family adventures were a touchstone, drawing us together and keeping us connected.”
Jan and her children have especially fond memories of a cross-country train trip they took to visit extended family. Because the distance would keep them on the train for several days, Jan and her husband decided to reserve a sleeping car. She explains how the seats converted into five beds, but that it was a bit like a puzzle.
Figuring out that puzzle kept them in stitches as they worked together to set up the beds. And then, once the beds were in place, only one of them could stand at a time, which they all found hysterical. To this day they can’t help but laugh as they recall those tight quarters.
Other adventures were annual experiences, like their summer camping trips at Mt. Rainier.
“We needed more equipment as the children grew. By the time they were in high school, they had their own tent separate from my husband and I. Eventually, once they were in college, they even had their own campsite.”
Jan tells of how heart-warming it was to see her children camping together, independent of her and her husband. The kids drove themselves out to the campground, got their spot and set-up their tents. Jan and her husband hosted meals, but their adult-children built the evening fires and invited them to their campsite for s’mores.
Jan recalls, “It all felt a little surreal, but it was really lovely.”
As we enter the holiday season, with college kids returning home and visits from children long grown, may we all enjoy a few family adventures; whether it’s something as simple as a Christmas movie marathon or an elaborate ski trip, may we all enjoy creating memories that keep our families connected in these years as our children take flight.
I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember Your miracles of long ago.Psalm 77:11