Our two youngest children love (loved) fish and chips. You know, the English style fish and chips. When Sam was about 8, and Ben was 3, we traveled to London as a family. Setting aside the seeming insanity of taking three of our four children (3 to 18 years old — the fourth went to North Carolina) and my parents (dad who had never been out of the US or Canada), it was an amazing trip.
We learned so much on that trip, which was the April after September 11th. Ben assertively introduced himself to a group of middle eastern looking men when I would probably have kept my distance — not proud of that, but being honest. The friendships we developed because of his assertiveness? Priceless! He taught us to look beyond the stereotypes the media was pushing then. We traveled around England, learned about traveling with multiple generations involved, saw great sites, and went to Lego Land.
My dad wanted fish and chips on that trip. He really, really wanted them. So we found a great local restaurant that had fabulous ones, and I think my parents ate there every night of the trip. Sam and Ben loved that place, and they loved the fish and chips except for the peas that came with them. I ate the peas. Lots and lots of peas. We have great pictures of dinners there, and we have reminisced about those meals and that trip a lot.
Last night, while on a work trip, we went out to the hotel restaurant. I don’t usually eat in a hotel restaurant, but I was too tired to go elsewhere. The fish and chips there were the best I’ve had since England, and they came with peas. Peas. It made me laugh.
As I ate my peas, I thought a lot about how thankful I am that we were able to travel like we did when our children were young. Those memories, those laughs, make me smile — even though they will always now have a tinge of sadness because we can’t ever make new memories with Sam.
Make your great memories while you can, don’t wait for the perfect moment to do something. We almost cancelled that trip to London because the world seemed to chaotic then, and I will be forever thankful that we went.