‘You’re JUST getting here?’ We took the long way.’: Mom urges families to enjoy the journey

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“‘You’re JUST getting here? What’d you do, take the long way??’

Years ago we took a trip to the beach with family and, in fact, took the long way. Looking back on it now, I’m really glad we did. For starters, the beach we were going to was easily seven hours from where we live so we decided to stop about halfway and spend the night.

We enjoyed that layover so much, even now when we go to closer beaches, we still do it. Same hotel. Same restaurant for dinner. Same pool for nighttime swimming.

Even though the unpacking and repacking can be a pain, (especially the wet clothes), it’s become our family tradition, and I can’t ever see us not doing it.

That one year, in particular, we added another layer to the trip: Scenic Highway 98.

That’s right. We drove the last leg of the trip down US Highway 98. It’s basically a 4-lane highway that’s overcrowded with stop-and-go traffic.

But it’s also really cool. It’s a historic strip of road filled with neat stores, restaurants, and enough beachfront condos to fill the skyline.

We took the long way.

We drove along at a snail’s pace. But we talked. We laughed. Watched parasailers float in between clouds. Countless sea birds. I’m pretty sure we saw at least one Blue Angel.

We took the long way.

The truth is, taking the long way doesn’t come naturally for me. My husband and I balance each other really well because I’ll never be the one to suggest going for ice cream on a Sunday night.

I tend to be the logistics of the operation—where we need to be and when, what to pack and why, where everyone is going and how. I like schedules. What do I like even more? Sticking to them. I like predictability. I’m a rule follower.

Sure, the family needs structure, but it also needs fun. Families need to take the long way sometimes.

While I sometimes tend to focus on the destination, it’s important to remember the journey.

So we took the long way.

I still remember that drive. I remember laughing. I remember being wholeheartedly disappointed in my first Whataburger. I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of joy and happiness for that time spent with my family.

So to the person who asked if we took the long way, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ And I’m so glad we did.

I think about that question often and I can’t help but feel sorry for the person who asked it. I also feel a sense of gratitude for having a partner who pushes me outside of my own headspace. I’m even more grateful for being open to it.

Life is so short folks. It’s not a race, and the destination isn’t always everything. Getting there is half the fun. Sometimes getting there is the most fun. But you’ll never know unless you try.

Take the long way, y’all. xo.”

woman sitting with a glass of wine smiling
Courtesy of Melanie Forstall

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Melanie here: 

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‘I saw a young teen publicly thanked his parents. ‘Thank you for giving me everything I want.’: Mom says ‘we have to learn not everything in life goes our way’

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