Going Abroad (And Not Crazy) With Your Kid
I hemmed and hawed over whether it was a good idea. We wanted to go to Ireland, sure, but Declan – at age 6.5 – was he really ready? At least, was he ready for the kind of trip *I* wanted to take, with museums and castles and history and all that crap? I’d been to Germany several times by the time I was Declan’s age, but that was to visit *family.* This was going to be a real, bona fide, run around the country like tourists VACATION.
With whirling lights and whirling traffic (on the other side of the road, no less) and about a thousand miles of running around the Irish countryside.
How would he handle it?
Sure, the first day in Dublin was heinous. We’d only one hour of sleep, after all. Who wouldn’t be heinous?
And there were several bouts of selfish, unreconcilable, incomprehensible 6/7 year old behavior. And you know what? I can handle selfish. Heck, *I’M* selfish. But selfish + nonsensical drives me right over the edge. So, trust me, we had a few minutes were I felt like howling in the wind just like the boys are jokingly doing above. [Which by the way, are the edge of the Aran Islands, in case you are wondering.]
But in the middle of his tantrums, we kept our eye on the prize. An amazing family vacation where he is finally old enough to remember things. So what if it’s only the bumper cars at the bizarre fair in Kinsale (which also happens with be the culinary capital of Ireland) that he remembers? Or playing tag in the park with his dad. And yes! He LOVED feeding swans straight from his palm, using leftover chips (fries) from his lunch. Let’s not forget the absolute joy in seeing his name everywhere (Declan is an Irish name) … AND having people pronounce it correctly. No DEEE-clan for you in Ireland, boy-o!
So, yes, I am a Type-A uber-planner who had a specific, separate calendar for all the things I wanted to do and see in Ireland. But even me, the crazy control freak, knew those little moments we just happened upon, the ones we let unfold, would be among the most special from our trip to Ireland.
And so they were.
Have you ever traveled to faraway lands with your kids? How did it go? Any tips or tricks?
P.S. I am still editing photos, but the full group is being collected here.