disconnectingthefamilyFor Easter break, our family travelled to California to hike at Yosemite and see old friends.

I want to tell you all about Yosemite and its breathtaking views, but that’s another post. First I have to write about how hard it is to return from a family trip. It’s been two weeks, and our family still isn’t acclimated to real life, to life separated from each other.

The trip was larger than life, epic, inspirational. Together, we saw huge waterfalls, hiked further than we thought our legs could carry us, fought, made-up, laughed, and worked together. We navigated winding mountain roads, car sickness, bruises, skinned knees, and time zone changes. In other words, we travelled together. Every mom says it: nothing connects your family like travel does.

Travelling door-to-door from the rental house to our house was a twenty-hour journey. By the time our family got home from the airport (at midnight), we were functioning as a single unit. We might as well have been a couple returning from our honeymoon. We stumbled into our beds happy and together—and then woke up the next morning for school and work and our own separate lives.

That was two weeks ago, and our kids are still struggling to transition from the role they play in our family to the one they play in real life. (The best illustration of this is Catie, who functions as the confident, oldest child in our family. In her Fifth Grade class, she is by far the youngest kid. The past couple weeks she’s morphed from The Organized Co-parent to Giggling Girl.).

None of us have gracefully transitioned from family vacation mode to our packed schedule of soccer games and homework projects. We miss each other. The kids miss the security of sticking together; Mike and I miss constantly knowing what are kids are up to.

Maybe the ebb and flow between travelling together and living individual lives is what works for families. Maybe we appreciate these epic trips of wanderlust because we know our real lives are waiting for us. Just like that newly married couple returning from the honeymoon, we can go back to our individual identities, secure in our bond from our trip.

But that doesn’t make the reentry any easier.

This summer we have another road trip planned to the Midwest. I’m already looking forward to tackling the challenges of travel with our family. I can’t wait to work together to navigate cornfields and lake life. I’m excited for long, silly hours in the car with the six of us and our two dogs.

For now, I won’t think about the reentry, the disconnection our family will face. I won’t think about the ugly time that follows.

Today I’ll focus on the fun family connection, instead of the necessary disconnection.

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