I glance out at yet another Civil War Battlefield zooming past my car window. The plaque announces many things that I cannot read from this distance and at this speed. I am tempted to point out the field to the two children in the back seat then change my mind. I’m tired. There will be questions and I don’t have the energy for the answers.
We have been traveling for six days. We have seen many interesting things. We have seen historical things. We have seen majestic things. We have walked miles, traversed hills and valleys that are significant for so many reasons. I have discussed these reasons with the two children mentioned above. The information has probably gone into some recess of the brain never to see the light of day again. I have done my part as mother and teacher.
The car is in motion and we are on our way to another important site. We will learn about a President or war hero or famous landmark. My husband will hold a map and point at dots and dashes as if they were lifelines. I will tell him to just lead the way and carry on. The kids will drag their feet and ask for a snack. Then there will be a moment when the four of us will find something noteworthy and we will pause and we will stare. I will take a bunch of pictures and the kids will pose dutifully. We will repeat this many times.
Vacations are a funny thing. I find them necessary to the soul. They are intellectually stimulating and energizing to the body. They bond a family as nothing else can. They also take one to the breaking point. Yet, we must do it. Because the world is huge and there is much to see. Also, because the people out there are like us and unlike us and we must meet them. Most importantly we must travel because home is that much more wonderful when you have been away.