More than a Passport

A few weeks ago, I received my children’s passport booklets in the mail. To me, this envelope contained more than just two passports.

Growing up, our family vacations consisted of a trip to Adventureland or the Iowa State Fair. On a good year, we may have been lucky enough to travel to both. My dad was a farmer and farmers cannot just leave their work to get away for the week, or even the weekend. Or at least mine chose not to. Did I feel like I was missing out? Absolutely not. To me, I assumed seeing the ocean or leaving the country for a few days was a privilege reserved for the wealthy. 

I still remember the first time I saw the ocean. 

It was stunning. I felt like I was on top of the world. It was 2004 and I had just graduated from college. My fiancé and I made the trek down to Clearwater beach with my brother and his girlfriend. To this day, I remember the exact thought that popped into my head. I will make sure my own kids see this before they are grown.

Fast forward to 2018. I made good on that promise to myself.

My kids were 10 and 7. Their smiling faces, running across the beach in Cocoa Beach will forever be ingrained in my mind. Since that vacation, they’ve seen stunning views in Hawaii, my daughter has taken in gorgeous views in Orange County and they are anxiously awaiting their first international trip to Cabo San Lucas in March.

We get so caught up in making sure our kids have the coolest clothes and electronics. I think sometimes we do this because it makes us feel good. Do you ever stop to ask yourself if they really care? Maybe we didn’t have the coolest Nikes or name-your-electronic-device, so we want to make sure they never feel that sadness we vaguely remember.travel

As we head into the holiday season every year, we ask our kids whether they want extra gifts or to travel. They have yet to answer with “extra gifts.” Clothes are outgrown way too quickly and, let’s be honest, who can keep up with the newest iPhones. I can guarantee that 20 years from now they will not remember wishing they had the iPods their friend had.

Do you know what they will remember? 

They’ll remember that boat ride off of the beach. They’ll remember that little mom and pop restaurant, rich with local cuisine. They might even remember that one time they parasailed and, even though they were absolutely terrified the entire time, they were so glad they did it the second they touched down. And guess what you get, mom and dad? You’ll get so many photos you’ll need to clear out your phone. And you’ll get to witness them make memories that will turn into some of their stories to tell their own kiddos.


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Crystal has lived in the Cedar Rapids area since 2006. She lives in Hiawatha with her husband, Joey, and their kids Parker (14) and Camdyn (11) and their mini goldendoodle, Kona. Crystal holds degrees from both UNI (Bachelor’s in Organizational Communication) and Mount Mercy University (Masters in Strategic Leadership). She has worked for Collins Aerospace since 2008, currently as a Human Resource Business Partner. Crystal spends the majority of her time either driving her kids to activities or waiting in a parking lot for their activities to finish. She also enjoys working out, filling up on coffee and / or energy drinks and binge watching Bravo. Lovers of travel, Crystal and her family are constantly filling their schedules up with trips (their pup Kona is named after their favorite vacation spot, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii)!

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