When I was growing up, we never really took any amazing vacations. There were a few camping excursions and one memorable rip to Martha's Vineyard, but for the most part we went to Iowa. My father grew up in a very small town in Western Iowa and most of his 6 siblings stayed in the area. Every summer we would pack up whatever small car we were driving at the time and head due north. It's amazing to think about now. There were no DVD players or PSPs to keep us entertained. My brother and I mostly fought, played roadside bingo, or just stared out the window. We loved visiting the small town where no one locked their doors and we could walk to the corner store for candy. My grandmother (Nana) and Aunt J would cook wonderful meals and many, many homemade pies. Oh, the pies! For many years, I never missed a visit. For the last two summers I haven't been able to go because of a lack of time off or the fact that I was giving birth, like I was last year. Thanks to the generosity of my parents, we were able to purchase three plane tickets and so we headed to Iowa!
L enjoyed the airport and the airplanes. He had a major meltdown as we landed, but it turned out he had a dirty diaper and we didn't know it. (He was much better on the return trip.)
We stayed with my aunt and uncle on their farm and I think the kids thought that one of their books came to life. There were tractors and cows and barn cats. L went fishing and made friends with a very patient black lab. There were lots of walks with Dad, too.
One of the things I really wanted to do was visit the big tree. This tree has been around for years and years. My father played in it, and so did I. I was so happy that I was able to bring my kids there. I hope that my grandchildren will someday play there, as well.
L and E made themselves right at home and had a great time.
The hassle of flying with two kids was huge. I think we will be driving, if at all possible, for our future trips. However, once we got there, I was so glad we made the time. Now that I am lucky enough to have kids of my own, I realize how much the trips to Iowa influenced me. The hardworking, down to earth people in this small community are a part of me and a part of who I have become. It brought me so much joy to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins playing with the kids. Every time I visit, I never want to leave. This time was no exception.