We choose to go on an extended trip in a very tiny space not because it is easy, but because it is hard.*
*with apologies to John F. Kennedy
Planning to go on an extended trip with a family of six is hard. There. I said it. I know some of you think I’ve been in denial and are grateful that I have finally come to my senses. After all these months of talking about pursuing my passion and other such rose colored nonsense, you might be smugly nodding your head, as I seemingly admit that you were right and this endeavor is crazy.
But, here’s my little secret. I’ve known it was going to be hard all along. In fact, that might be the singular reason why I want to do this. Yes, I willingly want to do something that will require enormous effort, and could end in disaster, and may drive one or more of our family to question their sanity. Before, you turn away, convinced that I have just purchased my one way ticket to Crazytown, let me explain.
Living in our suburban cocoon is just plain easy. There are lots of modern conveniences that make things easy here. We have plenty of running water. We never have to think about our sewer system (and if I am honest, I am really going to miss that.) We have a machine that washes our dishes. Those are all things we will be leaving behind when we hit the road. Doing without them will be undoubtedly harder, but it’s the modern trappings that impact our relationships that need to be knocked out of their comfort zone.
It is easy to leave conflict unsolved here. If you have a disagreement, you just go to the other end of the house and ignore the person who made you mad. It is easy to not to communicate with my husband here. We can simply stay busy putting out home and kid related fires and never really need to interact. We can, with scary ease, conduct two separate lives, under the guise of being busy, involved parents and employees. I can easily convince myself that driving to and from practice and making dinner and demanding that they clean their room is having a meaningful relationship with my children.
In short, is just way too easy to be lazy here.
We leave all that behind we hook up the trailer in less than a week. There will be nowhere to run and hide if there is conflict. There will only be the hard choice of working through the conflicts until they (and we) are better. There will not be the jam packed schedule of activities to drag our family in different directions. For better or worse, we will be in the same place, doing the same things at the same time. We will have to depend on each other. We will have to interact. We will have to communicate. If there are any holes or flaws in our individual relationships (and, let me just admit right now, there are) those shortcomings are going to be magnified.
This is not some kind of luxury escape. This is not a vacation. And although we expect it to be a trip of a lifetime, the value will likely be measured in the raw, real relationship building we do while under the microscope of too little personal space and too much togetherness. I have such high hopes for this trip because of this fact. I expect to come home a better wife, a better mom, a better person not because of the miles we travel, but the things we learn about ourselves along the way. Will it be hard? No question! Will it be worth it? Absolutely!