It was the perfect time for our family to pack, donate or sell everything we owned in Australia and head on a year-long adventure, house sitting our way through North America.
I wasn’t thrilled or happy with my current employment, Inga’s design company, Inkling Design, was growing and we could take it on the road with us, and our only daughter Andy was just four years old and wasn’t starting big school for a year.
When we meet people and they pick up on our (beautiful) Australian accent, they always ask where in North America we have been and how long we are holidaying.
As soon as we tell them that we’re travelling for a year, house and pet sitting our way across this diverse and beautiful continent, their attention always shifts to Andy.
“What an amazing opportunity you are giving her, she must love all the new places”, people often say.
People have also asked me the question:
“Do you think she will remember it?”
I must admit, at first this question did throw me a little as it was one I never thought about before we had left Australia.
Will my four-year-old daughter remember our year house sitting our way through North America?
Yes or No.
Is there a correct answer?
I started to think about what I remember from when I was four.
And I don’t remember a single thing.
Does that mean that everything that happened in 1985 wasn’t of importance to my life?
I can recall my fifth birthday and my sister’s eighth birthday, as I think that was the only year my father was able to borrow a VHS video recorder and I have uncomfortably watched the videos in my later life.
Sure I remember some things from my childhood but not 99% of them.
I don’t remember everything from my childhood but I remember that everything combined was perfect.
I remember being happy.
Will she remember it?
Our children’s childhoods should be a mosaic of love, experiences, and play.
I know that she won’t remember everything. I also know that I won’t remember everything.
Remembering each detail of our trip isn’t important.
What is important is that we were able to spend a year with her, creating stories that we will retell each other in the future. We figured things out together and experienced moments together for the first time.
Kids don’t get to choose their parents, so as parents, each day we need to ensure that we are the parents our children would have chosen.
I know I fail at this more times then I choose to admit. But overall I think I do okay.
I don’t care if she remembers this adventure or not. I have held her hand, put her on my shoulders, driven in a car with her, and eaten every single meal with her, more times this year than I have for the first three years of her life.
And all those little moments combined is what she will remember: live immediately.