A vacation miracle has occurred

Rear view of a little boy looking at a butterfly

My son got up-close with a butterfly at the Butterfly House on Mackinac Island. There seemed to be way more butterflies there than at the zoo. You even get a handy picture guide when you walk in to help you identify the butterflies.

Before we had kids, my husband and I were travel enthusiasts. We went to Europe three times, Hawaii, California, did a Route 66 road trip, and a number of other adventures. We thought we’d be the couple that continued to travel with kids. They’d be cultured, well-traveled people.


Traveling with kids is hard, not fun and, frankly, horrible. Schedules get messed up, environments are different, and nothing is kid proofed. But just last month, we had a breakthrough. We took the kids to Mackinaw City and actually enjoyed ourselves. All of us.

It was nothing short of a miracle.

People looking out at the water with an American flag

My daughter and husband made it to the top of Castle Rock in St. Ignace, Mich. When we got to the top, the kids didn’t care about the view they had climbed 170 steps to see. They just wanted to get dinner.

The kids were excited to go. We were excited to show them things that we did as kids and — here’s the important thing — we had zero expectations for a good time. Much to our surprise, we had age on our side. The kids are 4.5 now, so they understanding more and have longer endurance. They were fascinated with exploring Mackinac Island and thought climbing Castle Rock was a hoot. The boat ride to the island was a first for them as was their first trip across the Mackinac Bridge; they were seeing everything with fresh eyes and a sense of wonder.

It was actually fun.

Traveling was a huge part of who we were as a couple. It had been so long since either of us had the chance to enjoy being anywhere, it was a huge relief that we enjoyed ourselves, even if we have been to Mackinac a million times. I was starting to worry that my frequent flyer miles were just going to sit and rot in my account; that I’d never again enjoy the smell of a hotel; or get the pre-vacation excited butterflies.

Now I have hope.

I’m realistic, though. I know we’re not going on any long-haul flights or staying anywhere exotic anytime soon. But “someday” doesn’t feel so far away anymore, and it also doesn’t seem like a pipedream.

No one really talks about all the parts of you that fall away when you become a parent. Many of the things that made up your life before kids just don’t fit anymore and, like losing a friend, you miss those things. For me, it’s traveling. For you, it’s different.

But I’m here to tell you, I’m holding on to the dream that one day I can share Paris, my favorite place so far, with my kids. I want to go to a patisserie with them and share a warm baguette on a park bench. I want to wander old streets and get lost and have adventures. I may not be able to do this tomorrow, but I will. Some day.

– Rebecca Calappi is a Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health and adoptive parent of multiples.

2 Responses to “A vacation miracle has occurred”

  1. 1 Anonymous July 5, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Yes, Paris some day. It will happen. 🙂

  2. 2 Christine July 6, 2016 at 8:44 am

    Yes, it does get better 🙂 My kids are older now, but I remember trips with them when they were younger and I don’t remember them fondly. Your post was a great reflection on travel–which my husband and I liked to do pre-kids–and I wish I had read it 11 years ago when my kids were little.

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