In a few days Don and I will be boarding a flight to Ecuador. Our daughter will meet us in Miami where we will take the last leg together to Quito. Our son arrived there this morning and will do some touring on his own while he awaits our arrival. When we are all together we will continue on to our final destination, the Galapagos Islands. This trip has been in the planning stages since last Christmas when I broached the idea via Skype with our son in California and in person with our daughter who had just arrived home from Japan. It is our Christmas gift to ourselves and to our adult children. While Don and I have always wanted to visit the islands made famous by Charles Darwin in his book, On The Origin of the Species, what makes this trip truly special is that we can share the experience with our children
Gathering with family has always been an important part of our Christmas season. So much so that when Don and I got married, we celebrated nearly every Christmas with both his family and mine together in one place. Sometimes it would be at his folks, others at my folks, and increasingly as our parents got older, at our place. Often it would include other relatives and friends as well. The kids got to know their grandparents, cousins and other relatives through these holiday get togethers. Our parents have all passed away, but we cherish the memories of those times together.
In my nearly 60 years on this earth I have only traveled far from home for Christmas twice. The first time was with my brother Roger when we took a road trip, driving his baby blue Gran Torino from California to Minnesota to visit relatives for my first, and his only, white Christmas. The second was three years ago when Don and I flew to Japan to share our daughter’s first Christmas deployed abroad. Since our children graduated from college and started their careers it has been more difficult to get us all together, especially around Christmas. I know what you are thinking, if they can both get away and meet us in Ecuador, then certainly they could come home for Christmas. But Maine isn’t really home for them as we only moved here while they were both away at school. And it didn’t escape me that they both could be swayed by a great adventure. Whatever the reason, I am excited that we will all be together to share the holiday in what will be a very memorable way.