I’ve always been a big believer that travel is nothing more than a series of moments in time. A select few of the moments are special and worth remembering; (most) others fade into oblivion.
When we travel individually, we relish these moments solo. When we travel with kids, however, two things happen: 1) we share the moments with them, and 2) we lay the important groundwork for our children to have moments of their own.
This is why I loved our trip to Mystical Fairies here in London this week.
Sure, the fairy-themed store in Hampstead had hundreds (literally, HUNDREDS) of fairy dresses for girls the age of my girls. And, yes, the place also sold wands and crystals and wings and pixie dust and amazing books and all sorts of other items that you would want if you were between the ages of 2 and, say, 9 and really liked fairies.
Heck, I even bought each daughter the dress of her choice (each girl was allowed to select one thing in the 30 minutes we spent inside).
But, really, the best part of the visit was the (pardon the pun, people) magic of simply being there, of seeing their faces light up with a glorious mixture of disbelief and delight when we walked through the door.
They vocalized these feelings well. At one point during our visit, L interrupted a staring contest with the wall of dresses to proclaim, “Daddy, this is the best store in the history of stores.” R followed suit shortly after she picked out her dress (a purple number with wings and butterflies all over it: “Daddy, I feel like a real fairy!”
As if it wasn’t clear enough in the moment, I knew we had struck family travel gold when the girls insisted on donning their dresses the very moment we got home. And again the next day. All day.
At some point in the future, both girls will outgrow their dresses and the dresses likely will end up as hand-me-downs or contributions to the local Goodwill. The girls, too, will move on—to sports or boys or nail art or whatever. One thing we’ll never lose is the moment, that special memory of that special time at that incredibly special place. For that, as a parent and a traveler, I am eternally grateful.
How do you commemorate and/or celebrate your favorite travel moments?