under the creation of adam

i rocked you, swaying side to side, while you were snug against my chest wrapped in the ergo baby carrier.  i sang to you the first phrase of silent night as i slowly rocked-revolved in place, standing under the creation of adam.  in the sistine chapel.  that masterpiece by michelangelo.   we were there just a few days ago.  me, on the verge of tears with my neck craning back to take it all in.  you, a bit fussy from a missed nap on a day out in rome.  but you quieted down as my heart beat a bit faster induced by extreme awe.

and then a few days later, i picked you up from laying on the cold marble tiles at the accademia gallery, to set you upright again.  and then i asked your sister to stand instead of walk-crawl on her knees in that same spot.  these bursts of requests for you to be a bit quieter or a bit more still, mixed with diverting my amazed attention to the 16 foot statue of michelangelo's, david.  again, with tears forming in my eyes at the beauty of such accomplished skill and mastery.  the few glances i was able to afford were just enough to at least say that i've seen it, before we whisked both of you outside into the busy florence foot traffic.  now you had permission to be as loud and buoyant as you were while inside the gallery.

you pulled at your sister's hair while she returned the favor by waving her claimed-found stick close to your face while we sat in a horse-drawn carriage touring ancient rome and the colosseum.  we strained to hear the tour guide's italian-accented english and hurried to snap a few pictures of columns and ruins before pulling your hand from her hair yet once again.

and then we said, "gelato!"  and that helped bring a bit of calm and a temporary peace treaty.  yes, we bribed.

we are doing what i would not recommend to others:  traveling with young kids.  because it's difficult and draining and hurried and limited.

but i did not have the money to see these places when i was in college or right after.  nor was i the kind of person who dared to do these things at that age anyway.  of course i had the desire, figuring a teach-abroad or the peace corps would be my in-road.  and now that we have the means at this juncture in life, which also intersects with being at the having-young-kids phase of our lives, we are jumping at the opportunity.  we also live in the part of the world now that makes it a bit easier to travel to europe.  so instead of putting it off, we are going and seeing.  and it really is quite surreal.

this isn't a post of bragging or complaining.  it's just a mash-up of the reality of life with the fulfillment of a great desire in life.  or is it a mash-up of the fulfillment of our desire to have a family with the reality of traveling?

because even though traveling with kids is a pain in the ass (eat the gelato and watch the elmo and just sit still for one minute!!), and even though they won't remember this stuff at all, i'm going to love looking back at the pictures with them one day and will love telling them all about their travels as young children.  and by that time, i won't remember all of the hard parts.  i will remember the amazing parts:  daring to take our two young children into a world that has such breathtaking beauty and such magnificent diversity.  telling them about the amazing things God made and the incredible things people have made.  and the remarkable thing will be telling them how we did this as a family.

and we're a pretty cool family.  let's just admit that now.

because only five days into this three week journey, i need that dose of perspective!