As I was looking back over this past year I looked at some photos from the past several years, some of which were from our first Monopoly travels to the Badlands in South Dakota. This has definitely reminded me of how much the kids have grown since we began our National Park adventures not all that long ago. This brings a number of different feelings as I’m sure many parents experience.
First, a huge smile to my face remembering the places we’ve explored together as a family and the stories there are about each one. Then a little bit of sadness enters because we can never go back to those ages with the kids and all that are left of those times are the pictures and memories. As I’m reminded of the changes that have occurred I begin to think about the changes that will be coming as we have only eight spaces remaining on our Monopoly National Parks board out of twenty-eight total spaces.
The end of these family adventures is nearing and I’m wanting time to slow down because our last trip is supposed to be to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park which coincides with the oldest daughter graduating from high school. From that point I expect our family to change as she begins to venture out on her own making family vacations more challenging to complete. As I envision entering our final park and stopping to take the requisite photo by the sign I begin to well up a little and feel as though I can’t get out of the car to get that last photo as my girls will be pretty much all grown up. Even writing this now is more challenging due to my emotions. I made the mistake one time of looking up images of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and saw a photo of the entrance sign making these visions all that more real for me.
We have been very fortunate to have these adventures and share them with several family members and friends along the way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to explore so many areas of the United States with my children and watch as they grow up and learn about these parks and places as well as they get to learn more about what each of them likes and doesn’t like and begins to explore themselves. Fortunately I have eight more parks to share with them and watch them continue to grow more.
As I look over these photos I’m very proud of our family for what we’ve done and tried and learned. There is no question in my mind these Monopoly Adventures are worth what we’ve put into them and some of the trade offs we’ve made to accomplish our goals so far. I’m hopeful we are able to complete the last parts of our board without too many difficulties, but not too quickly. OK, time to look ahead into 2015!