Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I used to be (secretly) critical of a friend who took her kids out of school often to take family vacations. I thought she set a negative example for her children when it came to "valuing education." But, as in all things, it seems, I am now as a mother doing many things that I never thought I would!

My husband called Monday to say he had Tuesday off. A friend had just told me that admission to all National Parks this week is free, so I asked if he wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, (neither of us have ever been to the South Rim and he has wanted to go for years). We left Monday night (~5 hour drive) and returned late Tuesday night. We told the kids it was an educational vacation.
The experience was amazing. For my husband and I it was humbling and strengthening to spend hours meditating and reevaluating our lives during the six hours we spent in the Park.
No, no, no, really I think there were 3 minutes total combined of contemplation, and the remaining 357 minutes were spent trying to keep our kids from falling into the Canyon.
Our two-year old was determined not to hold our hands, climb every rock he could find, and finally crashed while riding the tour bus back to our car.
I spent a lot of those 357 minutes negotiating with and discussing life with our seven-year old, like how grateful he should be that he even has a mom that cares whether or not he falls off of the edge of the 2,000 ft. cliff.
Our five-year old complained that her feet were tired and there was nothing fun to do, after realizing that we were at the Park simply to walk and sight-see, and nothing else. But, she was devastated when we announced that we were leaving (so soon??) and pleaded that we stay another day.
I was surprised initially by the feeling that overcame me when the Canyon first came into view. Others had told me they felt insignificant and small, but I didn't feel that way. I felt immediately silenced. I thought it would smell piney, fresh and wonderful. I didn't even notice how it smelled. The solemnity that I felt came from the depth and enormity of the canyon. I felt that I could breathe it in. As we continued to see more, however, the insignificant feelings, the questions, the awe, the reverence, it all came.
It was an unforgettable experience. Honestly, though, how can you teach this in school anyway?


Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

I have never been to the Grand Canyon, but your photos are super! And I really like your description of how it silenced you. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

Great photos.

If it makes you feel better, I'm taking my four kids out of school for a week (hopefully - this volcano better stop). The schools aren't happy, but there's more to education than schoolwork.

Steve and Katie said...

So fun! Totally worth missing a little school. Time with family - especially when dad is gone so much, is always worth it. And when its educational too, thats just icing on the cake!

Barb's blessings said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Barb's blessings said...

Love, love, love this post. We have been to and taken our kids to the Grand Canyon more than once and it inspires those same feelings every single time. It is the purest definition of the word "awesome." My parents rode donkeys to the bottom and back up in their 60s. I am not that brave. Heights are not my favorite thing. But the grand canyon is absolutely spectacular from any vantage point. Kent and I especially love the North Rim with it's more mountain like setting. It closes in the winter because of snow.

Thanks for sharing!

Love ya,


cheri said...

you were able to capture great photos. what a way to educate your kids and make great memories.

oh, loving the new look of your blog :)

Kate Coveny Hood said...

Those pictures are amazing! Although I think I'd be having heart attacks about children so close to the ledge...

I've never been to the Grand Canyon before. Maybe I'll pull the kids out of school next year and fly out.

Lillian Angelovic said...

Dahling, where I come from this IS school! :P Totally makes me want to yank them out of those really-important-now high school classes and play homeschool for a week again.