Home family travel Magic moments when (and where) you least expect them

Magic moments when (and where) you least expect them

by Shelly Rivoli

It has been one of those days.

The post I had planned to publish this morning slipped away on the banana peel of myriad life complications, technical conundrums, and an underlying desire, as always, to be spontaneous. Even now, after 2.5 hours of driving mostly 10 miles per hour, hoisting daughters to plug my last quarters into a parking meter where we might sit, 101 degrees in the shade, to have vagrants solicit spare change already spent as I nursed our baby in the car and Daddy took care of business at an office around the corner—the excuse for our hasty departure.

Nevertheless, as I look out the window now, I see that even the hummingbird hovering at dusk collects his nectar before flying off into that distant night.

Bag it all. Life is good.

The dozen reasons I’d dragged my feet before leaving home this early afternoon now bask at my feet in the comical glow of “Didn’t we tell you so?” Kids are hitting the pool with dad and baby’s on the hip with a big happy smile. Mama types one-handed recounting still the sweet nectar moments of our recent road trip I still strive to chronicle.

Rick Steves writes about “magic moments” in travel, and I’ve come to understand that as a parent traveling with babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and now—a kindergartener in tow, these aren’t always planned. It hits me now how many moments of our travels held a certain magic, even in the most mundane potty-break-and-feeding stop as when we sat outside a gas station on I-5 and I nursed Baby Theo while watching my daughters dance atop a picnic table to the delight of an elderly couple traveling to their family reunion.

Truth is, there are so many moments that might never make it into a travel blog or, certainly, into a travel guide. So often we save the film of our consciousness for the travel moments we most expect to be the “magic moments.” Guess what? Traveling with the world’s newest people, you may find magic where you lest expect it. The drinking fountain beside gate C-24. The picnic table beside the ‘76.

Nobody said having kids would be easy. Even fewer said travel with them would be easy—let alone possible. But I have one thing to say, yet another two hours later now, typing with the other hand: “Magic!”

I ought to know. I’ve collected a lot of nectar on the subject. Even at dusk.

Safe journey,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning guide Travels with Baby
PS What do you know? Two rounds of Goodnight Moon later and it looks like I’ve still made it in time for Photo Friday at DeliciousBaby.com!

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Shelly Rivoli August 24, 2009 - 9:41 pm

"…beat its wings like crazy" — makes me think of packing as fast as I can before my kids can unpack us! 😉 "Look what's in THIS suitcase!" -Words you don't want to hear from around the corner… at 9 p.m. the night before your departure.

Lora August 24, 2009 - 4:43 am

Nicely said. And isn't it cool how a hummingbird can beat its wings like crazy and still look like s/he is dancing on air. This reminds me of traveling too. Some days it feels like you're beating like crazy but looking back, its all part of the dance.

Lorraine August 23, 2009 - 8:27 am

Beautiful post, it captures a central characteristic of family travel – the moments you least expect may have it all.

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