Max and Theo turned five this past week, and Wes turned one last month, so we have been celebrating some pretty big milestones around here. Sometimes it takes my breathe away thinking about how my life has been transformed by these three boys.
After Max and Theo were born, it didn’t take us long to figure out that routine, structure, and a good sense of humor would help us emerge from their infancy with our souls intact. A few months into their life, we realized we would also need a lot of fun. Not Chucky Cheese, theme parky fun, but road-trippin’, outdoor adventure fun.
So when the boys were 11 months old, we scrapped our plans for an international 10-year anniversary trip and bought our first pop up camper. Instead of two weeks in Ireland, we spend a long weekend in Belleplain State Park. Lucky for us, we agreed it was the best decision we ever made.
Adjusting to having a child is a huge life transformation. Adjusting to multiples? Well. For three years we pretty much willed order out of chaos. Anyone who has ever witnessed a parent of two year old twins simultaneously darting in opposite directions (while laughing with glee) might have an idea of what our life was like. But we focused. We developed systems. We came up with rules and routines. We planned and practiced, held it all together, so that what could have been a circus act instead felt like a magic trick…creating surprise and excitement and leaving us wondering, how did we pull that one off?
When Wesley joined the family last year, we knew things would be different. We hadn’t camped with Max and Theo when they were newborns, so in a way we were newbies all over again. We talked about cutting back on traveling. We talked about shorter trips.
When Wesley was only 5 weeks old, the time came for our yearly trip to the Philadelphia/West Chester KOA. We love going there every May on Mother’s Day weekend, and the idea of giving up the tradition hit us hard. I can’t say I felt at ease about it, but I couldn’t say no. We went.
Boy oh boy, was that a good decision. There was canoeing, fishing, music, campfires, and botanical gardens. There was everything that we enjoy about that trip, just with another camper in the mix.
Things are definitely different now that we are a family of five. We often have to change plans or adjust our expectations on a trip because of the needs of our youngest. Now though, we are willing to deal with those situations as they arise. Now Jeremy and I are more prepared to reevaluate, change the direction midstream. We get the big picture and are fine with letting the details work themselves out.
Max and Theo taught us how to work for what we wanted. It is not easy to travel with twins, but we were determined to live the life we imagined, so we figured it out.
Wes taught us how to relax, be flexible, and enjoy the moment. He has helped us understand the true value of doing what we do with our children. The best part of traveling with your family is that you all realize that things may not always work out how you planned, but they will work out just fine. Even better, most of the time they will work out just grand.
Next week we will be returning to West Chester for the fourth time. Some things will be the same and some things will be different. Some things will go as planned, but some plans will have to hit the bricks.
Five years in, the one thing I say with confidence is…things will be interesting. And most likely awesome.