For Christmas my mom gave me a gift card to a luggage store nearby us. It was time for a serious upgrade. With one of the wheels already fallen off, the suitcase we’ve had for the past 10+ years (how did it even make it that long?), was on its last legs – or wheel – and we didn’t have much time. My family and I somehow made it down to FL this spring, but with a trip to Italy coming up this summer, among other trips, we couldn’t risk a break down. I am the type of person who likes to wait and wear things down until I absolutely need a new one, but this was getting ridiculous.
So this past weekend we finally went to the store, all four of us in tow, to find our new suitcase. I wanted a larger one because when we travel I put my clothes, as well as our two girls’ clothes, in the same suitcase. My husband uses some random work duffel he likes, that is small enough for carry-on, and we try to keep it to one piece for check-in to make things easy, and more cost-effective. The $25 per bag thing drives us crazy. That means we wind up carrying a lot of extra stuff in our carry- on bags, just so we can get by with the one check-in bag. I hate carrying a lot of stuff on the plane – it makes me feel disorganized and messy – so when we were checking out the new luggage, we decided to look at both the suitcase as well as carry-on bags for us (meaning my husband and I), that might be more organized than our current ones and would help with the mumble jumble. Anything to help make our family trips less chaotic.
That’s when it hit us that our new “revamping of our luggage system” wasn’t about us – it was about the kids. We don’t need to be carrying more bags – they do! We spotted a purple, big-sized back-pack on wheelers in the corner of the store. At fist we thought it would be perfect for our older daughter as that would mean one less kid’s stuff we have to carry. And then we realized our younger daughter, who is 5 but more the size of a 4 year-old so that’s why we didn’t think of her at first, could probably manage it too. Plus who are we kidding – there is no way we were walking out of that store with a spanking new purple backpack on wheelers for one girl and not the other, no matter what the size. We all know how that would end. So we made the girls do laps around the store about 10 times (not kidding!) to make sure they both could sustain a long walk through a long airport with a bag this big, including its handle. We find ourselves in big airports often, and that’s why my husband and I always wind up carrying everything, because the walks get long for them and their books, toys, videos, art projects they couldn’t leave with out, random junk, etc. The wheelers are (hopefully) going to change everything for us. Grant it backpacks on wheelers for kids is nothing new, but these are big ones that can hold a lot (including some of our stuff if need be), and of good quality. They are not the character ones that generally break down sooner than you’d like. With the new back pack on wheelers and a new, bigger suitcase, we felt we got our money’s worth on the gift card.
Which brings me to my final thought about the “revamping of our luggage system”. While great and all that we had this “break-through”, and our trips will (or should) be forever changed, it does signify something bigger – that is, the growth of our girls. They’re not babies anymore, they’re big girls. Big girls who can manage on their own and not be so dependent on their parents as they once were. When I look at the photo above, that’s what I think. We’ve reached the next stage, and how great that is, but a little sad too. I look at this photo, and I’m so glad, but my heart also feels a little nudge.