I have very fond memories of our family vacationing with my grandparents when I was growing up. Colorado was the destination, and occasionally we would get to fly, but the majority of the time we would pack our bicycles in a U-Haul trailer and head north. It’s funny to me now, as an adult, that the fondest memories, the stories that get retold over and over, actually come from the times that things didn’t go perfectly.

Like the time…

I fell fully clothed into an ice-cold river in the middle of a tourist town, while challenging my sister to see who could “make it the farthest” out on the rocks.

I set off the alarms and brought security guards running when I got ahead in the airport and thought I’d just make one more trip around the revolving security doors to wait for them to catch up. Apparently, those are one-way only.

My grandmother was behind me on a bike path that ran parallel to a drop-off into a creek.  I swerved toward the creek and she instinctively dove off her bike to save me…only for me to correct my course and have her land face first, bruising her eyes and looking like a raccoon for the rest of the trip. She sure must have loved me!

My 6-year-old sister and I would not stop arguing and my parents threatened to move us to the trailer. “Yeah,” she agreed, “so we can fight in PEACE!”

Looking back, I’m pretty sure my parents must have had the patience of Job. Well, for the most part. There was that ONE time they got fed up with teenage sibling bickering and made us get out and run on the side of the road for about a mile.  Let me tell you—that was actually a very effective strategy! But overall, I think they kept things in perspective and rolled with the punches.

Now this summer, I’m looking forward to a family vacation with our kids and their grandparents. Actually, it might be more accurate to say that I’m looking forward to a familytrip. (My father in-law famously says that a vacation is something you take with your spouse.  Anything else is a family trip. J) I know that there will be moments where things won’t go as planned. Meltdowns will happen. Mistakes will be made. But I’m really hoping I can handle them all with as much grace as was modeled to me. Because after all, those might be the makings of the best memories.

We’d like to thank Becca Wilhite for sharing this post.