When Ralph got home from two years in Colombia, our family took a vacation. First we went to Yosemite, and then we spent a couple of days at Disneyland. On the trip I observed to Ben Blair that it was the first time all the kids had been fully able to participate in the whole trip.
The whole family could hike together without needing assistance. The whole family could swim confidently in Yosemite’s watering holes. The whole family like watching the same movies.
But I especially noticed it at Disneyland. The whole family could ride every ride — meaning everyone was tall enough for every ride, and no one was too young or too old to not enjoy the roller coasters. And because we don’t go to Disneyland very often (that was our second visit as a family), it’s possible that it will be the only time that ever happens!
It was interesting to have a trip to Disneyland where we totally skipped all the little kid things. No one cared about going to the Finding Nemo (Crush) show, meeting characters, becoming a Jedi. We didn’t even step into Toon Town or Bugs’ World. It’s like a whole different park! It also made me realize that we’ve never been to Legoland, and have probably missed that window altogether.
Maybe the idea of having all your kids at similar stages is totally normal and regular for you. I suppose it’s different for big families — if we had stopped after two or three kids, then they would have pretty much always been at the same stage, from about 4 years old and up. But even then, I think it changes things when the kids are all old enough that the parents and kids can really enjoy and share similar experiences — like roller coasters. I think we must have ridden the Incredi-Coaster ten times, and Space Mountain another ten. : )
Anyway, just thinking about this after seeing my kids in action last week in Palm Springs. It wasn’t the original plan, but at the last minute, Ben Blair ended up driving everyone down (except for Ralph — he had classes). They were all on Spring Break, and we ended up needing extra helping hands. I really love that we can all work together on something or enjoy something together. I know this won’t last forever, and I’m trying to soak it up.
Your turn: Are your kids at similar stages? If yes, have you noticed a change in your family life or activities? Are your kids grown enough yet that they can fully participate in things like hiking or skiing or baking? Do you feel like you remember being at similar stages as your siblings? Or were there big spaces in your family? I’d love to hear.
P.S. — How did you decide to space your kids?