A RARE OCCASION TO SPEND TIME WITH ALL MY DAUGHTERS
I have been looking forward to this July for some time now. This month I have all of my family coming to visit. My wife and I have three daughters, and our family is scattered all over the world. Our oldest daughter, Shelley, is a school teacher for the Department of Defense. She’s currently teaching third grade on a base in Seoul, South Korea. Dana, our middle daughter, works at a music management company in Austin, Texas. Monica is our youngest. She lives in Napa, California, with her husband and our two grandkids: Hank, who’s 6 and just graduated kindergarten, and River, who is 2 ½.
Spending time with family has always been very important to me. As a kid, I used to spend my summers with my Aunt Lily out in California. While spending time with my aunt, I would go to watch wrestling and roller derby on TV with my grandmother who lived in another house on the property. My Noni was a passionate Swiss-Italian woman, and I could only understand every fifth word she said to me. But that didn’t matter! It was the time together that I treasured! Today, Monica and her family live in the very house that used to belong to my grandmother before she passed. The cool thing is that when I go to visit my grandkids, it’s like old home week … and the memories of Noni’s home and my childhood flood back.
We’re excited to have the whole family coming home for a visit. It’s only for a few weeks in July, so we plan on packing those days full of as much family time as possible. Luckily, Texas has lots to do! We plan to go to Central Texas to a water park in New Braunfels, expect to take a Texas-style African Safari at a wildlife ranch, and even explore some of the largest underground caverns in the world. We also have plans to lazily spend a few hours tubing on the Guadalupe River (assuming the water level isn’t too high).
By the time we get done, we’ll be worn out and will have had our share of the heat and sun, but it’ll be more than worth it! It’s been at least two years since we’ve all been able to get together. Sometimes we get to have our middle and youngest — or the oldest and middle — daughter at the same time. But it’s not very frequent that we have all three daughters and our two grandkids visiting all at once.
Considering how mobile our girls were growing up, it’s not surprising they live their lives scattered so far from home. As our girls were growing up, vacation time was generally spent visiting family and friends back in Wisconsin, with camping trips sprinkled in as we explored Texas. This must have led to a love of travel as our girls certainly expanded on our ideas. Our oldest daughter Shelley waited until she started teaching to really explore the world, first moving to Denver, London, Germany, and now South Korea, all the while exploring the countries accessible from those locations. Our two youngest daughters started a little earlier, taking advantage of the International Camps offered by the YMCA and visiting Greece, Ireland, and Italy. They met other teenagers from all over Europe, and this really expanded their understanding of the differences, as well as similarities of people around the world.
Travel has always been a way of life for them. They learned that, by simply saving a few hundred dollars and hopping on a plane, they could be somewhere else in the world in a matter of hours. Maybe we shouldn’t have let them be so mobile as kids. They might have settled nearby when they got older!
But in all seriousness, Kaye and I are proud of our girls. They have all gone after what they wanted in life and have accomplished amazing things. It’s hard having them far away, but we know they are all happy. And their time away from home makes the time we do get to spend together that much more enjoyable!