It’s no secret that our family loves to travel.  Our kids have seen more of the world than I ever did at their age. From road trips to cross country flights to cruises to Disney to the Holy Land, we’ve seen a lot together. I think it started way back in our early married life. Before kids, PJ and I had the time and opportunity to travel quite a bit, and it became part of the DNA of our family. We loved going somewhere different to see something new every chance we had. When we would pass through a certain region or town, I would think Oh, we’ll have to come back here someday, fully knowing that when given the chance, we would likely pick a different spot to vacation next time…and every time. In those days, it was easier to pack up and go, without having everything mapped out to the last detail.  Years later, as a family of six, driving all day without knowing exactly where we will sleep at night is out of the question!  

In recent years, I have begun to see the beauty of the familiar vacation! Next week we will be vacationing in a place we have visited at least half a dozen times. And you know what?  I’m looking just as forward to it this time around…maybe even more so. We know exactly what to expect. There’s no chance of being disappointed or spending the week resenting a resort that was not as advertised. It’s not that this place is five star accommodation or anything, but there’s no surprises. And I find some comfort in that. There’s no risk that we’ll end up feeling like we’ve wasted our money.

We also know what to pack. We know to bring a decent pair of scissors with us and a BBQ lighter for starting the fire logs. We know to bring a sharp paring knife because the knives in the unit are kinda dull. I know the layout of the grocery section at the local Walmart so picking up food for the week is a breeze…especially since I use the same list for buying a week’s worth of food every time we go. Honestly, our kids associate toaster waffles and pillsbury biscuits with this place! They love Mommy’s vacation week meal plan of convenience foods. And speaking of the kids, they know what to expect too. Steele Hill holds such special memories for them that they count down the days for a month before we leave.

Little Mister was pretty little the first time he visited Steele Hill!

I think I used to see these weeklong getaways to New England as a vacation we were settling for because it was too expensive to fly a family of six very far very often. We can fly long distances as a family every few years perhaps, but we need time away together more often than that! We have tried the “staycation”, but it just doesn’t work for us! It’s too tempting for PJ to stay somewhat plugged in to what’s happening around the church; and as a homemaker and home educator, home is my “workplace”. Staying there does NOT feel restful to me!

That little blonde-headed boy is the same one wrapped in the towel above.

These weeks away to New England may have started as an affordable compromise to our vacation needs; but after all these years, I’m beginning to see them as cherished downtime. My heart has moved from “settling” to “savouring”. The memories we make next week will be like the icing on a delicious layer cake, made all the more sweet from the layers of memories underneath. And I plan to savour every familiar, restful bit of it!

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