Travel…. not what I thought


the challenges are not whether we travel under budget, or get to off-the -beaten-track places, or try new and exciting foods with courage and enthusiasm. Or whether the children pick up bits of languages, learn to understand and respect people of other faiths. The challenge is not whether we can physically conquer tall mountains, long walks or tough climbs, or flights of stairs with Sparky’s chair. Its not whether we learn and appreciate long sad histories, or thrilling true stories and see the places where they happened.  Or even whether we stay healthy as we travel.

The challenges are largely relational.

Damn and blast.

That’s much harder.

Sure I can catch a bus and order dinner all in Malay. But can I speak politely to my own children through the whole dinner or play fun games with them on that bus?

Haven’t done it yet!

I bust them for failing to do what I ask, but two weeks ago I said I would sew up Snowy’s emu and I haven’t done it.

I say, ‘don’t be a donkey’ to Tintin, when he has said he really hates that name.

Sparky calls out to me to come chat with her using her PODD book, and I procrastinate, make a cup of tea, or ‘just quickly do something’ before talking with her.

They ask me to come and watch their circus, guess what they drew, or (groan) hear all about what they dreamed last night. And if I go, I often go reluctantly.

To be fair, I also need to slow down, de-stress and recover from a couple of tricky and unpleasant years. My own cup needs filling up, I acknowledge that. And its starting to fill as I sleep, go to the gym, watch sunsets and spend whole days with my husband.

On the other hand, there’s something to be said for starting as you mean to continue.  I mean to be the sort of mother who is kind to her children and spends fun time with them all. Sounds petty simple doesn’t it? Obvious, even.

I’ve had several Ah Ha! moments over the last couple of years about speaking nicely to my children, and treating them with kindness.  ( Some would use the phrase “God has been speaking to me about…”) Once it was from the words of a Colin Buchanan song

“Don’t bop them on the head
Don’t scratch and bite and kick and call them names
‘Cos if you go the ‘dummy spit’
the Lord will not be pleased with it”


Its about kids in the playground, but, actually, its about me too. Mums shouldn’t belittle their kids.

Another Ah Ha moment came through the words of a 1970’s Sesame St Classic.

Somebody come and play
Somebody come and play today
Somebody come and smile the smiles
And sing the songs
It won’t take long
Somebody come and play, today.
Somebody come and play
Somebody come and play my way
Somebody come and rhyme the rhymes
And laugh the laughs
It won’t take time
Somebody come and play today.

Somebody come with me and see the pleasure in the wind
Somebody come before it gets too late to begin
Somebody come and play
Somebody come and play today
Somebody come and be my friend
And watch the sun ’till it rains again
Somebody come and play today


Even AA Milne had words for me


Come Out with Me

There’s sun on the river and sun on the hill . . .
You can hear the wind if you stand quite still
There’re eight new puppies at Roundabout Farm-
And I saw an old sailor with only one arm!

But everyone says, “Run along!”
(Run along, run along!)
All of them say, “Run along! I’m busy as can be.”
Every one says, “Run along,
There’s a little darling!”
If I’m a little darling, why don’t they run with me?
There’s wind on the river and wind on the hill . . .
There’s a dark dead water-wheel under the mill!
I saw a fly which had just been drowned-
And I know where a rabbit goes into the ground!


But everyone says, “Run along!”
(Run along, run along!)
All of them say, “Yes, dear,” and never notice me.
Every one says, “Run along,
There’s a little darling!”
If I’m a little darling, why won’t they come and see?

Why indeed.

I’m not too bright, by the way. A) God speaks to me using children’s poems and B) none of this is rocket surgery to understand.  Far out, its hard to do.

Am I the only one who struggles to put it all into practice?

Please pray for me.

I’m off to kiss them goodnight one more time, and then sew up an emu.


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26 Responses to Travel…. not what I thought

  1. Julie November 5, 2012 at 5:37 am #

    Thanks so much for your honest words! I am the homeschooling mother of two precious girls, 9 and 11, and we travel 9-10 months of the year with my husband for work. We travel mainly on the East Coast of USA but are traveling to England for a couple of months in the spring. I was hunting for family travel blogs and came across yours. I have loved reading your posts! Now that my girls are a little older I definitely want to keep that connection that can so easily be lost. Traveling definitely helps keep us closer but I find my life is similar to yours when it comes to being able to do all that is required on the road except be nice to my children and make exclusive time for them. All mothers go through this…thankfully I have a loving God who forgives my selfishness and I pray my children will too!

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