The yin and yang of family travel

Outside The Ahwahnee, right after we arrived.

Outside The Ahwahnee, right after we arrived.

Five days have passed since our family excursion to Yosemite National Park and The Ahwahnee Hotel. Though the trip was, by its very nature, a dream come true, the adventure included stratospheric highs and horrendous lows.

Chronicling the highpoints is easy. On the list: Watching the girls seek “cozy hideaways” for fairies as we hiked amid granite boulders on the way to Mirror Lake, hearing the kids sing songs from “Frozen” as Little R experienced snow for the first time in her life, taking them to the Curry Village Pizza Deck, helping L put her hands and face in the Merced River to see what it felt like, and, of course, spotting a bobcat slink by less than five feet away.

Of course watching my girls watch Yosemite Falls also was pretty amazing—the baby could not get over the fact that the waterfall never “shut off.”

The lowpoints are just as easy to enumerate.

Like the mid-brunch tantrum on the last morning that featured L scratching her mother like that aforementioned bobcat. Or R’s insistence on being carried for the duration of a 3-mile hike.

Both of these experiences paled in comparison to the indisputable nadir: The night when my 2-year-old daughter kicked me out of the bed we were sharing and screamed like a banshee until I agreed to sleep on the floor.

(At first this scene amused me; then I realized I was paying close to $500 a night to camp in a hotel.)

Personally, I expected the trip to have a little yin and yang—this is what happens when you travel with two humans under the age of 6. Still, I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t at least a little surprised by just how much yang there was on this particular adventure, especially considering how well the kids did on our last major adventure in London.

Overall, the experience was a perfect reminder of what family travel really is—beautiful, frustrating, exhilarating, and exhausting. Yes, there were low points. But there also were high points, and all it takes is one of those to make a memory that can last a lifetime for any of us.

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