No Matter Whom You Love…

All of us know somebody who has a partner who is annoying or unkind or a jerk of the first order. We all know couples where we love one of the pair, but it just isn’t fun to spend time with them because one of them is so unpleasant.

Most of us probably know someone who has been in an abusive relationship. I know four or five women who have been in verbally, emotionally, and/or physically abusive relationships. Intelligent, funny, beautiful women…all of them.

As I watch our children grow and learn and thrive, it breaks my heart that our world still has time to care about the gender of whom I love as a life partner.

When I look at these sweet faces and hold these warm, bony shoulders, their small bodies digging their hot foreheads into my stomach as I wrap them in an embrace, my hope for them is that they share their lives with people who hold their hearts and spirits with tenderness. Each of our children deserve someone they trust implicitly, like utterly, and respect unreservedly. Add in passionate love, and the package is whole. When you find someone like that, make room for them in your life, no matter the gender.

When the world is so ready to de-value anyone who is not “us,” my place is to be the home for my children and their chosen partner, ready to say, “No matter whom you love, you are welcome here…”

Final Ireland Post: Lessons Learned

A previous post discussed some of the lessons we’ll take away from this trip to help in planning the Trip Around The World, but I have a few last thoughts.

1) There was some fear about this trip. Especially Yessa and Buster talked about their fears, both about flying and being away from home. I had plenty of fears in my head, although I didn’t share them. I handled mine by planning; sending Gina copies of all documents we might need, and knowing that she has copies of our will from the trip to Costa Rica. (My worry history is long.) Buster and Yessa handled their fears by talking about them and asking for reassurance.

This fear is normal. We’ll feel it again, and that’s okay.

Feel the fear…do it anyway. (Jack Canfield)

2) When we first arrived in Ireland, I thought it was okay. I liked the people, I very much enjoyed the places we visited, but at least once I thought to myself, “I’m not going to like Ireland as much as Italy.”

Boy, was I wrong. Ireland came to feel very much like home. It was the first vacation I can recall where I wasn’t ready to go home. I could easily see living there someday. (When Kelly and Paula are ready to move there with us.)

I suspect this will be an issue with each new country we try. It will feel strange and different, but eventually we’ll find the things we love about each place…

Unless we don’t.

3) It will be okay to change our plans. I follow a family on Facebook who was living in Costa Rica, then they moved to Panama to get a different experience. They didn’t care for Panama. It just didn’t feel right. So, after they gave it their best effort, they moved back to Costa Rica, which had felt very much like home.

The travel we do with the children is all about learning about the world. It’s okay to not love everywhere we go. It is, in fact, okay to really dislike some of the places we will go. We’ll learn something from each of the places. That’s what matters.

4) Finally, everyone in the family must feel heard and respected. We have some strong homebodies, and we have some adventurers. Some of us like a routine, and some of us want to go with the flow. This meant in Ireland we had more “at-home days” then some people would have preferred, but allowed us to ask more on the “outing days” from our at-homers.

When we went, we went hard. When we relaxed, we relllaaaxxxeeeddd.

5) We don’t need much stuff. We each had 4 sets of clothing, counting the clothes we wore, plus a jacket or sweater. The children and I each had one pair of shoes, Buds had two. A kindle or ipad for each of us, filled with books, will serve us very well.

6) We are not big souvenir shoppers. Buds and I got CrossFit Limerick t-shirts for ourselves and one for Tania. At the used bookstore in Cork, we all purchased at least one book, up to 15 books for The Buster. (Hauling books around is not fun, and should not be encouraged.) We bought assorted postcards. Monkey bought a small football with Guinness written on it. And we purchased or picked up some random pencils, a leprechaun, and some necklaces.

There were, of course, the wooden weapons, but best not to speak more of those.

My point, though, is that we probably want to consider a souvenir plan. I don’t foresee us buying many things to bring back for people. That just isn’t how our brains work. Better for each of us to pick one thing that brings us a smile as a memory of the trip.

Not paper books, though…no more books!

DSCF2474

cropped-DSCF2214.jpg

cropped-DSCF2172.jpg

Nineteenth Ireland Post: The Trip Home

We’ve been home several weeks now, and life is returning to normal. We all miss the cool Irish weather and the peacefulness of our Limerick home.

The trip home was mostly smooth, and we all found the long flight during the day easier than we had the overnight flight on the way to Dublin. Flying is still a hassle, and it always feels like there are so many unknowns, but the children handled themselves extremely well.

The big loss was the confiscation of the weapons. I’m not even sure I should document it in the blog because it caused a lot of heartache for all of us, but especially the children. It seemed so senseless to all of us, but an airport doesn’t seem like a safe place to attempt to argue your case, nor did we feel sure enough of timing for me to run back to try and mail the weapons to us.

It was a very sad ending to our trip. I’m thankful that the rest of the trip went smoothly, and that we have children who do bounce back quickly, even when they have been hurt. I was proud of them.

A row to herself, and a good book to read.

A row to herself, and a good book to read.

Good bye sweet swords.

Good bye sweet swords.

Catching some "zzzz's."

Catching some “zzzz’s.”

Overall, the trip was magical, truly, truly magical. I can’t wait to try out more adventures of this duration or longer.

Eighteenth Ireland Post: Bunratty Folk Park

The kids and I had so enjoyed ourselves at the Bunratty Castle Banquet, we decided to return on another day when we could tour the rest of the folk park.

We’ve been home for a couple weeks now, so my memories are fading, but just today Yessa said, “I miss Ireland.” We’ve all said that at least once since we returned. That means, though, that this story will have to be told mostly in pictures.

It was excellent to get to wander through the castle into all the rooms, go up on the battlements to see the view, eat dinner in a converted home with a small peat fire crackling nearby. And as was often the case when we were on The Emerald Isle, the sun burst forth and gave us time to frolic on the playground, stroll through the walled gardens, and enjoy dreaming about living in the past.

One of many plaques spread around the buildings on the grounds.

One of many plaques spread around the buildings on the grounds.

Cradle in a cottage.

Cradle in a cottage.

The simple dishes make a lovely display.

The simple dishes make a lovely display.

The curtains provide extra warmth.

The curtains provide extra warmth.

Thatch, thatch, everywhere

Thatch, thatch, everywhere

Even this bed would have felt good after a long day of work.

Even this bed would have felt good after a long day of work.

The dungeon at Bunratty Castle.

The dungeon at Bunratty Castle.

The photographer at work

The photographer at work

Sitting in the Duke and Duchess' chairs

Sitting in the Duke and Duchess’ chairs

It was rainy and cool enough for a peat fire in the cottages and restaurant.

It was rainy and cool enough for a peat fire in the cottages and restaurant.

More animals to meet.

More animals to meet.

The picture with the pony reminds me that we shouldn’t forget that incredibly charming and personable porker that we spent time with. If ever a pig could talk, this one did. Buster and Yessa spent a great deal of time sitting on his stone wall, visiting and scratching the sweet little fellow.

The chapel that was moved to Bunratty Folk Park, stone by stone.

The chapel that was moved to Bunratty Folk Park, stone by stone.

The Folk Park Playground

The Folk Park Playground

IMAG1305

IMAG1307

We guessed this was thatch storage. Very intriguing.

We guessed this was thatch storage. Very intriguing.

Griddle cake cooked over a peat fire. (Poor picture quality my fault.)

Griddle cake cooked over a peat fire. (Poor picture quality my fault.)

Typical Irish pathway

Typical Irish pathway

The happiness of being fully armed and prepared for battle.

The happiness of being fully armed and prepared for battle.

The children were so happy to finally find excellent souvenirs from the trip. They each chose a couple wooden replica weapons from the gift shop, and were so excited to think of returning home with these for play battles.

But, it was not to be…though that story will have to wait for the next post.

Overall, it was a splendid final excursion to wrap up our trip.