This is the first vacation we've taken in three years. I hesitate to call it a vacation, really. We're visiting family, and though I've been amassing a vast arsenal of lovely memories (not to mention a full sd card of photos), visiting family isn't always relaxing. We've got to juggle spending time with family while trying to make time to see friends as well. Navigating family dynamics, particularly when we haven't been privy to them in several years and have forgotten when to bob and weave around certain ancestral mine fields, has proven to be a bit tricky.
Overall, however, it's been a fantastic time. We've been fortunate to spend time with people I didn't think we'd get a chance to see, like my sister and brother-in-law, whom I adore. They drove almost six hours (each way) to visit us, and I will be forever grateful for their efforts. My daughter, their niece, will be four years old in just over a month, and this was the first time she and my brother-in-law had met. Despite my daughter continually forgetting his name and calling him simply, "the boy", they got along smashingly.
On the second leg of our trip we've been visiting my husband's family, which has been equally satisfying. We've gotten to see many of his old friends (dating back to junior high and high school) as well as spend quality time with family. Perhaps the most heart-swelling moments have been watching our daughter enjoying the company of her two cousins who are incredibly sweet, talented and beautiful girls.
Now though, after two weeks away from our home and routine (not to mention our dog), we're ready to head back. It's been a long trip, but a great trip, and one we won't soon forget. But if we do, at least we'll have the photo documentation to prove we ventured west.