Nastya, ready to go!
I am so chronically exhausted that I wonder if I can write a coherant post - particularly with the ante upped by the fact that I haven't written for so long! But, think I, it will only get worse if I wait any longer... so I'd better give it a shot.
Last week, we went on what I think was really the first "normal" family vacation I can remember taking. And, I have to admit that it was just a two-day "vacation" at that. But - it was relaxing and fun.
We went to Cedar Point - a wonderful amusement park in northern Ohio - about 3 and a half hours from us. This little trip was a long time coming. My mom actually gave us money to go for Christmas 2006. Last summer, I kept delaying and delaying, and then SURPRISE! we got our call to go get Ilya, and the Cedar Point trip never came off. This year I think the children were beginning to doubt that it ever would. I felt rather guilty that their hope was nearly transformed to despair - so all of a sudden - I made the reservations, and we were off!
Craig had to work, but Lydia and I took the younger four. Maxim, coincidentally, had been invited to go with a Russian friend of his the following day. Well, that was fine. Great, even! Otherwise the van would have been packed to capacity and I am not sure my sanity could have borne the resulting behavior.
Aidan, Calvin and Lydia
We drove to Cedar Point on Wednesday afternoon after Lydia got off work, stayed in a hotel overnight and spent the next day at the park. The weather was lovely - perfect! - and Aidan, Susan and Calvin drove from Pittsburgh to meet us for the day. All in all - it was a lovely experience.
For most families this would be a fairly "run of the mill" sort of event. For us it was unique. I am not sure why, but I have always felt that vacations needed to have a purpose over and above mere "enjoyment". I am not quite sure where I got this stodgy idea that all endeavors need to have significance and meaning, but I have it! So ingrained, in fact, that I am really not sure that I could have managed TWO days at Cedar Point, for example. As it was I was sorely tempted to leave early so we could all go to the Edison Birthplace in Milan, Ohio. (Don't worry, I spared them - for this year.)
Our vacations have included some wonderful trips, though (however educational). I loved the road trip down part of the Mississippi River, in particular. This followed a winter of reading Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and Life on the Mississippi. Then there was the trip that Lydia and I took with my mom to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Mansfield, Missouri. Best of all was the trip to all the other "Laura" sites from the Little House in the Big Woods in Wisconsin, to the Little House on the Prairie, and onto the Little Town on the Prairie in DeSmet, South Dakota. For good measure we visited the homes of Betsy and Tacy (of the wonderful Maud Hart Lovelace books) in Minnesota.
Most of our vacations, however, have been to explore my roots - Iowa history and family lore. I think Aidan and Lydia grew up believing that there really was no other place than Iowa to go on vacation.
Then, Irish dance came on the scene, and most of our "vacations" were taken in weekend trips to competitions around the midwest and Canada with dance and Irish culture taking center focus.
So. You see why this was quite a breakthrough, what with one thing and another. Everyone had fun, and believe it or not (Edison notwithstanding) I am honestly considering other "non-meaningful" possibilities for the future.