We weren't able to afford big vacations while you were growing up - homeschooling is a wonderful thing, but it does tend to limit the income. That is okay; there is a cost and benefit to every choice we make in life, and we were always happy with how that balanced out when it came to our decision to homeschool.
But we did have one vacation. We spent several days in the Wisconsin Dells, staying at a hotel with a water park.
You loved that water park - it was not terribly large, but it had slides, a giant aligator with gaping jaws, floating islands, a water basketball game, deep water and shallow water, hot tubs and cool pools.
Your favorite game was when Daddy threw things in the deep pool for you to find; you dove down like a little duck and found every one. That was a new skill for you, and we were all very proud!
We also went to many of the attractions - Robot World and the Reptile Garden were fun, we had a great time playing mini-golf, you got to actually drive one of the famous Wisconsin Dells Ducks all by yourself. We had a magical horse-drawn wagon ride down the Hidden Canyon, where somehow the sky was sunny and the day was not overly cold, but snow drifted gently down and frosted the trees and ground - it was so beautiful that we held our breath in wonder.
And we made a special one-day trip to the House On The Rock, where we played every single clockwork musical machine, spent a long time dazzling our eyes and ears in the underground Carousel Room, and explored every nook and cranny of that house full of colorful, noisy, tacky, amazing, fascinating stuff. The one thing I could not make you or daddy do is go out and look down onto the tops of the trees from the floor window of the Infinity Room - even then, you and daddy shared a distrust of heights, although yours was not as intense then as it is now.
We were very glad that you were lucky enough to have a grandma and grandpa who could take you on all the wonderful vacation trips to far-off places. It was important to me that you see how varied, fascinating, and wondrous the world is. I wanted you to experience what travel could be, and you couldn't get a better role models for that than your grandma and grandpa.
But I hope that our Wisconsin vacation and all our little 'adventures' down the River Road will be held as treasures in your heart, the way they are held in mine. Grand trips are wonderful things to be appreciated and enjoyed, and held forever in the memory - but adventure and joy can be found even in very small moments and in places close to home, if you set your mind and your feet in the right direction!