I have returned, relatively intact, from my first big vacation with the kids as a single dad. We covered 1446 miles in the 2004 Volvo XC 70 (never have I taken a road trip in such a comfortable car). Among the highlights were visiting long-time friends on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, staying at the Creekside Lodge in Custer State Park, touring Wind Cave, and spending many hours learning about Mount Rushmore. Among the lowlights were the illnesses that we shared in the moving petri dish called our car.
There were definitely some challenges in being a single parent with three kids, like what to do when one is ill in a hotel room and medicine is needed from a store two miles away. But the joys far outweighed the challenges. We bought arrowheads and cap guns, recorded 34 license plates, discovered a couple great diners, and shared many, many laughs.
And when, on the way home, tears ran down my cheeks as we listened to the final chapters of Bridge to Terabithia, we had an important conversation about grief, which children of divorce feel keenly.
I’m happy to be home, and happy to have celebrated Easter with my kids and many other family members.
And I’m thankful for love.