When I got married 12 years ago, not only did I get an awesome man, but I also got a couple sets of awesome in-laws. Yes, two sets: I have two fathers-in-law AND two mothers-in-law. I have been blessed beyond measure having these people part of my life. This man of mine also gave me two incredible little boys. These little boys are 5 ½ years apart and could not be more different from one another. Even through all their fighting and bickering, I would do anything feasibly possible — as most parents would — for their kids. My love for them is immeasurable!
All this to say that my kids take vacations. Their own vacations. Vacations away from home and away from Mom and Dad. AND more than once a year.
As I write this, my kids are on their second vacation of the 2017 year. I’ve been judged for allowing this since my oldest started taking vacations without me and his dad at the age of one. But, I don’t mind. Why? Because I am their parent and I do what is best for them, and giving them their own vacation at least once per year is what is best for them.
So what do my awesome in-laws have to do with my kids’ vacations?
Well, my kids choose to go visit my in-laws on their vacation. They spend no less than three weeks a year there, sometimes more, sometimes less. My kids LOVE spending time with their grandparents and it is good for not only my kids, but also their cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and the other family members that we don’t get to see often because they are all 3 ½ hours away.
The boys will spend some time with their Pops and Nanaw, then they will spend some time with their Mamaw and Papaw. The boys stay busy while there by visiting relatives, hunting, swimming, watching movies, airplanes, and bulldozers, fishing, camping, and more. Sometimes my kids will take trips with the in-laws without us, and as long as it isn’t to Alaska (because Mom HAS to go on those longer trips) I let them go and tell them to just HAVE FUN!!!!! And you know what!?! My kids LOVE to be with their grandparents without us AND sometimes they never want to come home.
I let my children do this on their own and my in-laws love having them.
The in-laws have, with the exception of a few occasions, been at my house every month since my oldest was born. So, I feel like this is a way for my kids to enjoy extended time with their grandparents in an environment which is not their own. This way they get more quality time with both sets of grandparents.
I want my kids to build memories with their grandparents just like I did with my grandparents and great-grandparents. They have made so many memories in a few short years by vacationing with them, from stories told by their Pops about wars and more, their Nanaw’s traveling, and their Mamaw and Papaw’s family and friends. They especially love stories of their daddy as a kid! These are memories that will be with them forever — things I hope and pray they never forget.
Not only do my children thrive when they are away from us, but their vacations give us, their parents, a chance to do things we can’t do when they are home, like throw away and donate old toys, deep clean the house, and enjoy each other for a few days. One day our children will be gone and we need to be able to live with one another without our kids, just as we do with our kids. Too many people divorce once they become empty-nesters because they grew apart while raising their kids. By allowing our kids to take their own vacation, we are still growing with one another in life. We also DATE and what’s not to love about that!
Even more, I believe that as my kids get older, being away from mom and dad for a few days will help them when it comes to school trips, church trips, just as my oldest did this past summer when he was on a week long church trip. I was so worried about him not being able to handle not being around any family, he did amazing. Even though they are with grandparents now, they learn not to become dependent on just mom and dad but on other people if needed as well. It seems like every time my kids come home, they have grown up some a little and matured a little more. As sad as that is on some levels, I believe it will help them adapt better when they are older.
On occasion, if I decide to travel somewhere with my husband for a few days, our kids also get visits with the grandparents either at our house or the grandparents’ house. While these visits aren’t long and full of activities because the kids usually have to go to school, they love this extra time with their grandparents. (I’ll admit, if I can take a work trip with my husband somewhere, I jump on the opportunity because that is usually MY vacation since beach trips still include cooking, cleaning, and laundry, right!?!)
Affording my kids the opportunity to vacation with their grandparents in the summer and winter during school breaks is beneficial to our entire family, including the grandparents! And YES, I do miss my kids when they are not here. In fact, I talk to them daily and love to hear their stories, and when they come home, they get the biggest hugs and kisses from us all (dog, cat, and chickens, too).