My blog is a little late this week because my family and I took a trip out west for a few days. After getting the kids to bed the night before we left, my husband and I did our best to pack quickly because we had to get up at 3 am to catch our flight. As much as I always think I have prepared most of what I need ahead of time, that last flurry to gather things always seems to take longer than I want it to. As the piles got larger, my husband asked me what suitcase I thought we could get away with. At first, we decided we could make do with just a medium size bag for the four of us. We were wrong. No problem, we should definitely be able to jam our gear into the larger one. We are only going to be gone four days. Another miscalculation.
Two suitcases and three small carry on bags later we were finished. We may have been able to get away with less but we were headed to the mountains at 8,000 feet and it can get cold at night. Seems strange to bring pants and long sleeves during July but we needed to be prepared.
It’s amazing how much things can change in a short amount of time. The question of “What should we take with us?” changed for me three times in a half an hour span. But life takes on new meaning when you are traveling with children, you want to keep them safe and warm and if that means extra baggage, then so be it.
So there we were the next morning, dragging everything we thought we needed with us through the airport. In the end, though, we never ate the 5 pounds of snacks I brought. My oldest son and I never finished the four books we packed. It never got cold enough to wear the long sleeves and pants. My younger son played with the bag full of toys I brought for all of about 15 minutes.
So it makes me think…What do we need to take with us? And not just on a trip, through this life? Do we need to make so many preparations and carry so much baggage? Or can we get by with less and trust that it will be ok? I admit as a parent, I have a tendency to over prepare, to make sure my kids always have something to eat and drink, a toy to play with, a book to read. While that has come in handy with all the traveling we do, it can also set my kids up for expectations, instead of going with the flow.
As I packed for this trip I got my youngest son 2 trains, then had to add 1 more, just in case. I picked out 2 finger puppets, and then for good measure threw in an extra. Now I will say for argument’s sake, my son did drop one of his trains off our 4th floor balcony so “yeah for me” that the other train didn’t have to be lonely. But really, I think he would have survived without the extras.
This trip has been a good lesson for me. I want to learn to take less with me, and not just on vacations. God has been with me through the good and bad and no matter how much preparation I have done in my life, sometimes all the planning amounts to nothing but extra baggage.
Throughout this most difficult year of trials and triumphs, I have started to learn that traveling light will be ok. God will carry my baggage for me. I need to trust that I don’t need to do it all. Letting go of control is not an easy thing, but it will feel good to drop that extra weight. I want to show my children that it’s ok just to go with the flow, no extras needed.
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