I am big on moments. When you have three kids, you don’t get whole days that are blissfully fantastic. Travel can be a combination of intensely moving and sanity sucking (what the hell were we thinking?, do they not realize this is awesome?, this is fun dammit!, let’s get them in bed so we can at least enjoy a few hours of this trip) kind of moments. But there is always at least one amazing, mind blowing, I’m so thankful to be here, living and breathing with these crazy people, kind of moment.
On some trips you get a couple magical ones. On others, you get a bunch. The stars align and the universe stands still and you find yourself overwhelmingly thankful for the feeling of the air against your skin, the look of awe in your child’s eyes as he completely engages in the world, the calm that comes over you as you look at the water, the reluctance you feel for it all to end. We had a trip like that recently.
Every year in late May, several cycles intersect at the Delaware Bay. The endangered Red Knot stops over to refuel before completing its 9,300 mile journey from its wintering grounds in South America to its breeding grounds in the Arctic. At the same time, Horseshoe Crab spawning peaks. These two events coincide with the full moon and the evening high tides. We travel about 2 1/2 hours every year to witness this fascinating event.
The festival takes place every year in Milton, Delaware. It is a celebration of Horseshoe Crabs and Red Knots and is full of educational information and activities.
After the festival, we headed to the Dogfish Head Brewery where there are free beer tastings for adults (don’t worry, my husband really did only taste it as he was driving and I got to get the full effects of the free alcohol!) and free birch beer for the kids. Of course the variety of beer we took home to taste test at a later date was not free, but you could totally go and not spend money if you had more will power than us. We met several other families who were really cool! You know, the kind of families who would take their kids to a brewery. We enjoyed hearing their stories while the kids interacted.
After the brewery, we headed to Slaughter Beach to watch the tide and the Horseshoe Crabs roll in. Moment after picturesque moment, this was a good night.
We wanted to check out one more beach before leaving Delaware so we headed to Big Stone Beach and found another beautiful and peaceful place to walk.
I think the key to all these great moments was having time to truly engage in the world. Since there was no schedule, there was time to sit and feel the sand run through your fingers and time to teach the gentle way of rescuing an overturned Horseshoe Crab and time to be still and watch the water. This is the way we learn, whether on a trip or at home. It comes easier when you are somewhere new. It can be more difficult at home, but the more we experience this kind of engagement in the world through travel, the more I am motivated to allow time for that same level of engagement at home.
Whether you are traveling with your kids this summer, having mini adventures close to home or just enjoying your own backyard, become observers of the world around you. Listen to it, learn from it, savor it. Allow yourself and your children the time to experience some truly magical moments!
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