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Home Blog FranklyStein An impromptu family trip before it's too late — FranklyStein

An impromptu family trip before it’s too late — FranklyStein

I love Skyline Drive so when I was editing the story that ran in the October issue, I had a little daydream about taking the kids there. I even checked out room prices, but with the kids’ daily swim schedule and our tight finances, I held back from making reservations. It’s just not the kind of thing we do. I don’t think we’ve ever paid for a night at a hotel that wasn’t tied to a swim meet or sports tournament.

Skyline old ragThen when Chris and I were in Virginia for our anniversary get-a-way a couple of weeks ago, it came up again. We talked about hiking Old Rag Mountain with the kids and staying a night on the drive. When we got home, I checked the lodge website thinking all the rooms would be booked, but I found one room, for one night with just one king sized bed. I reserved it thinking we could always cancel, and I figured we probably would.

But as the time grew closer, I stared thinking, why not? I didn’t love that everyone would miss swim practices right before their midseason meets, and I wasn’t sure how we would squeeze a family of six into one room with one bed, but the kids seemed game.

On Thanksgiving, I told a friend what we were doing, and she loved the idea. She reminded me we wouldn’t have many more opportunities to do this kind of thing. Soon, the kids will want to bring boyfriends or girlfriends along or they won’t want to go at all. Our time with just them is running out.

Our oldest wanted to make an early morning swim practice the day we left, so we got a bit of a late start. We arrived at Old Rag just after noon and set out on the 9-mile circuit hike hoping to finish before dark. It was a hard hike up, but the kids loved the view from the top and the scramble across the rocks. On the way down the other side, Chris and I fell a bit behind and watched them interact. They bantered and joked and at times, had us laughing harder than we have in a long time.Skyline view

On the way to Skyline Drive after the hike, we lost radio reception and found an old CD of “The Sound of Music” in the car. We popped it in and all sang along like we did when they were toddlers. The hotel room was tight — three of us in the bed and three on the floor, but no one seemed to mind. We woke up the next day to a beautiful view and lingered over breakfast before heading home. Even after we could get radio reception in the car, we chose to listen to show tunes and Christmas music and all sang along.

It was a short trip, but it’s not one I will soon forget. It’s amazing when you suddenly realize that your kids have become real people, not just the children you have been struggling to raise day in and day out. I feel like we had a little glimpse into their future — who they will be and how they will get along. In that short time, we learned so much about them — that they are sweet, witty, entertaining and so quickly growing up. Best of all, we found out how enjoyable they are to spend time with.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 15, Adam, 15, and Jonah, 11.


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