Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moving the Petting Zoo ...

We’re going on vacation.  Which for a mom means really means “we’re moving this three ring circus somewhere else for a few days”.  It also means driving around to visit everyone we possibly can in 5 days.  Finding something to entertain the kids who are in “meet new people overload”.  Appeasing all relatives by joining them at their favorite place to be.  Doing that one entertaining thing, like the zoo, that we said we were going to do.  Taking a half-a-gazillion pictures of everyone together.  And of course, apologizing for not getting up there sooner (it has been 3 years).

So I’ve been packing.  Clothes, toys, feeding supplies for Bug, drinking cups for Monkey Man, snacks for everyone.  There’s a list that is so awesomely long of stuff for us to pack that I quit writing it down.  We have to move sleeping bags, play pens, diapers … you name it.  All the while preparing our Zoo here for the house sitter.  Also exciting and fun.  Cleaning up Bean’s room (it’s the “guest room” for that purpose), making sure all the entertainment stuff works and is plugged in, the alarm instructions are set, the littlest dog is at my friend’s house … another long list. 

I often laugh at the word vacation.  I am sure that since we’ve had kids, we’ve not actually been on “vacation” as the word was meant.  You other moms with young children can relate right?  There’s nothing relaxing.  But it is refreshing.  There are people I love that I haven’t seen.  Cousins to play with that even Peanut barely remembers.  Handfuls of people who have never even met Monkey Man or Bug.  And poor Bean only “remembers” what we’ve told her about these people.  Really, all I’m doing is taking a traveling petting zoo.  Everyone will want to hold, hug, kiss, love on, pinch cheeks of, and dote over the kids.   Patting heads, kissing cheeks, hugging necks.  I bring the teeny cute ones for everyone to say “oh my, they look just like Grandma So and So” or “Great Uncle What’s-His-Name”.

But it will be a blast.  We are so blessed that our family loves us as much as we love them.  No awkward family reunion where they’d rather shoot you than hug you.  Sure it’s a 12 hour car ride with 4 kids, which on life’s list of fun things to do …  But it’s so worth it.  My great-grandparents were long gone to heaven when I was born.  My kids have been blessed to know 3 of their great –grandmothers.  They have two left.  That’s one of the reasons for this trip.  It’s not just seeing family, it’s about understanding heritage.  We’re going to a family reunion.  Family that came over to the United States just three generations ago.  In a country where you can be from anywhere and that’s okay, it’s so important to know where you came from.  Who your family was.  Who they are.  And you show them with your kids who it will be.  It’s important to appreciate what makes you “you”.  So, I’ll pack up my zoo, and take them to the farthest regions of car-ride-ability.  We’ll spend what will ultimately seem like not long enough with family.  Clark Kent will be the most awesome Ring Master ever, getting us around, and hauling the circus around.  The kids will have fun and we’ll come home.  Perhaps a little more appreciative of the phrase “where I come from”. 

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