The Kids Are (More Than) Alright Lessons From a Family Vacation December 2019 www.wilson-law-office-elkhart.com 574-522-1900
The best advice I’ve ever gotten on parenting came from my father-in-law. It was a long time ago when our eldest was still a baby, but to this day I remember his words: “Your job as a parent is to work yourself out of a job.” It can sound a little tragic — after all, being a dad has a lot of joys, and it can be hard to think about retiring. But having gotten to the point where my three kids are embarking on their own careers, I can say I’ve never been prouder or had more fun as a parent. This has really been driven home by this year’s holiday plans. At the time of writing, the Wilson family is about to be Vegas-bound. Normally we spend Christmas with relatives, but given that this is going to be our last chance to squeeze in a family vacation before my middle daughter starts her full-time career as an accountant, we wanted to do something special. So this year, we’ll be escaping the holiday madness to visit Las Vegas before heading out to enjoy the Grand Canyon. There’s a lot I’m looking forward to about the journey (warmer weather included), but the real star of this trip has already been our kids’ maturity. This was evident from the very beginning of our plans for the journey. My wife and I were heading back from attending a Richard James event in Milwaukee when we had the idea and told our eldest about it. By the time we’d hit Chicago, she’d already come up with a rough draft of our itinerary and emailed it out to the rest of the family! It’s a strange feeling to not have to be the one figuring out the logistics of vacationing with your kids, but hey, I’m not complaining. Our eldest has always had a talent for PowerPoint presentations and organization — it’s not surprising she’s attending law school.
With my son holding a job in business analytics, I’m comforted by the thought of all my children having promising careers ahead of them. As much as I miss many of the joys of their childhoods, it’s great to see them spread their wings and become self-sufficient. Besides, there are some real benefits to having older kids. Back when they were in school, our family trips were almost always sports-related. Our “vacations” would be going to some gym or field in neighboring towns or states to watch them play, which was nice, but not exactly the sort of relaxing family time you hope for when you get out of dodge. Now, we’re able to plan out fun trips, and my wife and I don’t even have to worry about getting everyone there! Our kids’ flexibility to figure out their travel arrangements makes vacations like this one as stress-free as possible.
There’s something to enjoy about every stage in a child’s life, from when they’re crawling around on the carpet to when they’re chasing their dreams around the globe. Saying goodbye to those early days can be tough, but what lies beyond is even better. By far my most favorite part of fatherhood has been watching these kids become the amazing adults they are today. My wife and I may have worked ourselves out of a job, but I couldn’t imagine a sweeter retirement.
Here’s to all the ways our kids surprise us,
-Tom Wil son
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