Eight months ago my husband and I made the life-changing decision to sell everything for an adventure around the world with our two kids. At the time my daughter, Dorothy, was almost three years old and my son, Manilla, only one.

I hope this post doesn’t come across pretentious and proud. There are many things that my children miss out on from not having a permanent home and the beneficial consistency that comes with that. I’m super aware of those. Like every mother, I question myself all the time — if I’m doing the right thing for my family. But, in an effort to be more positive and confident, I will share a few of the things that I can see in my own children that make me feel like I’m doing an okay job. If you’re considering some travels with your own kiddos, I hope you will gain some insight from our experiences!


I think we can all agree that the older we get the more we realize just how much our mothers had to put up with while raising us. From chauffeuring us to tennis lessons and dental appointments to bearing with our adolescent angst and taking care of us when sick, it seems like there’s nothing our moms weren’t willing to do for us.

For many, our moms remain our number one fan, and our relationship with them will forever be one of the strongest bonds we have. Yet, as influential as mothers are in our lives, how often do we stop and actually let them know what they mean to us? Chances are, not enough.

I think it started around 1995, when the Oasis album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?  was released, and I became obsessed with everything England. Something about the culture, the creativity and the history spoke to me. I knew that I wanted to spend time there, and I also knew that a vacation wasn’t going to do it. I wanted to live there.

Over the years my desire to live in England waxed and waned as I went to university, got married and started my career – but it never left me. I remember bringing up the idea to my husband and his less than enthusiastic response. He initially didn’t share my desire to live abroad, but over the years he warmed up to the idea and eventually became the driving force, applying for a work transfer that allowed us to make the move.

This morning I sat at my dining room table sipping my coffee, watching my seven-year-old daughter eat oatmeal. I smiled when she looked at me, almond shaped eyes behind perfectly round glasses. She smiled back and then took another giant bite, sweet drips of cinnamon and sugar milk on her chin.

She’s the eldest of three and mornings here can be crazy. Yet, I find myself day after day taking the time to sit and watch her and marvel at the simple gift of sweet cinnamon oatmeal.

She taught me how to do that. How to stop. How to slow down. How to enjoy something as simple as oatmeal for breakfast.

My daughter has Down syndrome.

Our twenties are often a time to learn who we are, to try out our talents and gifting in the world, and to develop meaningful relationships. The focus is on moving forward and creating a life that makes you feel alive and getting to know yourself as an independent adult.

But while we move into the next life stage, so do our parents. As we age, so do our parents. Very few of us consider the impact of our parents aging on our young adulthood. How do we create an independent life and stay appropriately connected to our parents? How do we balance our goals with our parents’ needs?

Here are a few ideas on how to navigate early adulthood with our parents in mind.

He stood 6′ 3″ with thick, salt and pepper hair. His face was rugged from years of sun despite the shade his cowboy hat offered.

He was a cattle rancher, well respected, well liked and hard working. He came from humble means, but believed education provided opportunities, so he became a scholar and worked his way up to a PhD. Over the years he was on bank boards, school boards, and even the former regent of a state college. Twice a year he’d lobby in Washington D.C. for the future of agriculture.

He carried himself with a quiet confidence, never seeking out praise. Long winded stories were never his style. He spoke with purpose and intention. He loved his wife and daughters, the Texas Rangers, War World II books and old movies. He preferred the countryside to the city life, five dollar Walmart shirts to Ralph Lauren, and Ford pickups over Chevrolet. He made others laugh with his light hearted nature and dry sense of humor. He looked for the good in others and always fought for the underdog.

His name was John, and he was my father.

I visited my grandmother at her nursing home last week. It’s been almost three years since I saw her last, and I wasn’t prepared for how much she had deteriorated. I knew she had dementia, but as I sat by her bed holding her wrinkled hand I struggled to connect the rosy-cheeked, cheerful woman I remembered with the pale, skinny form lying next to me.

She didn’t remember who I was and I didn’t expect her to. In fact, she slept almost the entire time I was there. To help pass the time a nurse mentioned that a hymn-sing was scheduled for 2 o’clock, which pulled a bright memory to the front of my mind.

I’m sitting on a piano bench next to my grandmother in the sunlit study, fumbling through “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The chords feel too big for my hands, but she belts straight through my blunders with the determined gusto of a freight train.

Yes, let’s go to the hymn-sing.