In 2009, we took what has become one of our weirdest and most shared travel stories. It is really the moment that we realized that we wanted to travel more with our kids and that maybe we could. There has been a long road with loads of trial and error since those early trips as a young family. We have grown in not only family size but in ability. I decided to dust it off and share it here.
We took an impromptu trip to Virginia. I was pregnant with Isabella at the time. My husband was working for a small company at the time. He was gone all week but was home on the weekend. He got home one Friday. We had dinner and began talking about what we should do over the weekend. At about 7pm he got a call that they needed him to come back in the morning and work the weekend. They needed him to go to Newport News, Virginia. They said he should be back by Sunday afternoon and they would give him Monday off. It didn’t completely make up for it because Ivy had school on Monday but you gotta do what you gotta do sometimes. In the morning we grabbed a quick breakfast. He packed a bag and we drove him to work.
When we got there Ivy completely flipped out. She was crying and inconsolable. My husband sat there with her trying to calm her down. He promised to do something fun with her Monday. He got her under control enough to get going. I told him good-bye. He starts teasing me that we should just come with him. I laughed and said “Yeah, That would be nice.” I got back in the car and waved a final good-bye. As I put the car in reverse I caught Ivy’s face in the rear view mirror. She looked devastated. I sat there for a second as the pieces snapped into place. “Why couldn’t we just go with him? He would be back in a couple days. We missed him dearly. Ivy was an easy traveler and always had been. I mean you only live once. Why break a child’s heart if there was a way around it?” I put the car back in park and got out. I whipped out my phone and told my husband to come back to the car. I asked him if he was serious. Could we really go? He said “I would love that!” At that point Ivy opened the back door and asked what was going on. I asked her if she wanted to see Virginia. She just starred at me like I had lost my mind. It did not hit her as real until we were already an hour into our trip. Out of no where she yells “OMG! I’m really going!” The hubby and I laughed so hard!
Our impromptu trip was not all sunshine and rainbows though. We grabbed what we could out of the car to help us get through a two day trip. We did not have clothing. I did not bring my camera which was a shame! Ivy had a few toys in the car that she brought. We had to try to find places to stop for meals and snacks. We ate Chipotle the first day for lunch. After that the food on the way there was questionable. We stopped at a sandwich shop for dinner. The next morning we managed to find a place with fresh fruits and food a little closer to homemade in the middle of no where in Virginia. The mountains were awe inspiring! I was so taken with them. We stopped at the rest stops just to stare. My husband did his best to go with it. He travels so much I’m sure he has seen it all many times. He says that is not true. He says that when you are traveling for work it is different. He swears that you do not enjoy it the same way.
We got to Newport News. After Michael was done with work stuff, he says we are so close to the Chesapeake bay. We must go! Anyone that knows me knows I love to see everything! We drove through the tunnel which is neat all on its own. We decided to visit Hampton beach on the bay. It was chilly out but we still had fun. We walked along the beach and picked up shells. Ivy said “Mom, I have to touch it after coming this far!” I told her that was sound logic and set her free to be a kid. She got soaked. This was one of those moments in life that are permanently imprinted on you. I will never forget and I know she will not either.
I got this photo on my phone. Not a great photo by any means but a keepsake from where it all began. It makes me sad but I always have my memories. She had fun playing with the waves, running up and down the beach trying to avoid getting soaked. She did in fact get soaked! She was running back down the beach and tripped. She was so wet! Remember back, we did not have bags with us! No clothing! We changed her back into her Dad’s t-shirt that she had slept in. She said it sucked but was so worth it. We stopped a little bit later to get her into some clean clothes. I said I would just take care of it. She said “No, mommy. It’s OK. I want to go in too.” I let her out and was shocked to find that she had used the belt off her jeans to belt the shirt into a dress. She had folded and rolled the sleeves up so they did not hang hugely. She said she had fixed it. I had to admit that it was pretty cute! We went in and got her sorted into something dry that fit. That was pretty much the end of our trip. We drove back through the same beautiful mountains. We got back to the office on Sunday night. We drove home. Ivy went straight to bed because she had school the next morning. As I was tucking her in she whispered “Thanks for the best weekend ever. I’ll never forget that you let me go. I love you.” My heart melted! Never forget that kids will remember! It is not always about a glittery expensive vacation. Sometimes a last minute, unprepared, possible mess is the only way to go. Good or bad the story is one you will tell a million times. When pressed for dinner conversation you can whip out “OMG! This one time we went to _______ with nothing but the clothes on our back and an adventurous spirit.” Believe me a small impromptu trip lives in the heart forever and could change everything for the better!