The Gift of Time
“Oh! I hadn’t even thought about it!” was what my 15 year old daughter said when I handed her phone back to her in the airport. We had just spent a week in paradise and after the initial shock of “put your phone in the safe” wore off she didn’t ask for it once. Instead we spent the week talking to our children, introducing them to new foods, a new culture and experiences that will last a lifetime. This is what travel does for our family.
Think back to your absolute favorite memory you have as a child. Was it getting the hottest toy that year at Christmas? Was it the year you showed up to the first day of school in those shoes everyone wanted? Or was it a moment? An experience? I simply can’t narrow it down to just one favorite memory, I am very blessed to have many with my parents and extended family. But I can tell you that with the exception of the stereo I got for Christmas in 2000 I honestly can’t remember a particular material item I received as a child. Trust me if you were to get a new stereo you had been begging for the day before an ice storm takes out the power for 10 days you would remember it too!
A couple Christmases ago this got me thinking, what if we didn’t buy them gifts this year? What if we took them on vacation and just spent time together? It had been a trying year and our businesses had taken up most of our time. So thats what exactly we did. You should have seen the looks on their faces as they unwrapped flip flops, pool floats and sunscreen Christmas Morning. The last present was a brochure of the Mexican resort we would be checking into the following week! It finally clicked and they were ecstatic! We spent that week playing in the pools, building sand castles, visiting Mayan Ruins and trying to learn Spanish. They met kids from all over the US, Canada, Ireland, and England. They learned proper table manners at a Five Star restaurant. And most of all they got our undivided attention. These aren’t things you outgrow or throw away because they are warn out and broken. These are precious memories that we still talk about to this day.
This year we decided to do the same and on Jan 8th we arrived on the gorgeous island of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. From the moment we checked in at Beaches for our five night stay the fun and relaxation began. My kids have a deep love for the beach (they get it from their mom) so we headed straight there and stayed until sunset. The rest of the week was spent between the beach, amazing restaurants and outrageous waterpark! Let me tell you, that lazy river and I were besties. I thought my favorite moment came the day we took a private boat tour with our best friends who had joined us for the week. We dove for conch in the crystal clear waters with Bruce Willis’ house in the distance, then stopped at an uninhabited island to look for sea shells while our captain prepared the ceviche for us. I looked around and we were the only ones on the entire island. I was sitting in the sand with my best friend of 20+ years, watching our babies play and husbands act like children in the surf. “It just doesn’t get any better than this!” I thought. But I was proven wrong on the flight home. I had one kid asleep on my shoulder and the other with his head in my lap when he looked up at me and simply said “Thanks mom! I had fun with you.” Me too buddy. Me too.
Our kids are privileged to travel as much as they do. They know this. They have been to incredible resorts, sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to watch the fireworks on Independence Day, experienced the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and much more. I tell you this not to brag on our adventures but to urge you to do the same. Get out there and experience the world with your loved ones. Kids, husband, parent, sibling, best friend, it doesn’t matter. Create memories that no one can ever take away. Most importantly spend time together. The Ruavieja Holiday Campaign really opened my eyes to the importance of this. If you have not seen it I beg you to watch the video. https://leoburnett.com/articles/work/ruavieja-holiday-campaign-asks-how- much-time-you-have-left-with-loved-ones/
Our desire to travel as a family never goes away. As soon as we got home we sat down and made a 5 year family travel plan. Our kids are 12 and 15 so we know our time is limited. Soon they will be in college, have jobs and lives of their own. It was fun and surprising to hear some of their bucket list items and the reasoning behind them. Some of our big plans include an Alaskan cruise, Ireland and Italy. I challenge you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be the most exotic destination or luxurious get away. Whatever ‘it’ is for you. Do it!
- Kassey Weaver