• Published

By Vickie Rubin

My husband, Mitch, and I hate to fly. We prefer an eight-hour drive to a one-hour flight. Therefore, we have limited our exploration of other continents and the West Coast using the excuse that we would “rather” stay closer to home.

I’m not sure who is more fearful, but I think it may be him, since I recently flew two times within three weeks with my adult children.

Mitch and I have three children. Our eldest daughter, Jess, has significant disabilities, so when our kids were young, this limited our traveling options. I often flew with our two younger children to visit family in Florida while Mitch stayed in Buffalo so  Jess would have family in town.

Reflecting on the earliest days of our travel, it’s clear that our youngest daughter, Carly, was in charge once we entered the airport. I flew because there was no other reasonable way for me to see my parents, and for my children to see their grandparents. But that doesn’t mean I was a joyful flyer! I typically took something to help me sleep as my kids shuffled me through the takeoff, landing and airport.

For about 15 years, Carly and I have been taking an annual ski trip. We have long dreamed of skiing in Utah, but I naturally balked at the flight. As a result, we have always skied within driving distance.

Last summer, as I was planning my retirement in December, Carly again said, “Let’s do Utah this year.” The trip would be a celebration of my retirement and Carly’s first vacation as a new mother. I impulsively said yes and we immediately purchased the tickets. There was no going back.

Carly and I have noticed each year that there are few women who do this. Most of the ski travelers we observe are groups of men and groups of couples. Rarely do we see a mother-daughter team. It is a curious observation, and makes me wonder if we are just missing the others or if this is truly unique.

The experience of traveling with Carly cements our bond, offers common experiences and, admittedly, keeps me feeling young.

Our ski trip was wonderful but the flight home was alarming. Let’s just say wind shear and reacceleration to circle the airport led to sheer panic. Carly wisely offered water and deep breathing until we landed. I trained her well over the years!

My next trip was with my son, Alex, his wife, Joyce, and his sister-in-law, Joanna. Alex and I share a love of theater, Broadway and musicals and for the past two years we four travelers have shared the love of “Hamilton.”

Last summer, Alex purchased, at a low price, four seats to “Hamilton” in Chicago. I almost didn’t believe the tickets were real until we sat in our seats. His original intent was to sell two tickets, but I was not having any of that and tactlessly insisted that the other tickets go to Joanna and me.

The only downside of this trip was that we had to fly to Chicago, so back on the plane I went. The city was amazing and Alex’s local brother-in-law and sister-in-law gave us the grand tour.

The play was as spectacular as we anticipated and we all were truly thankful for this experience. I was especially grateful to vacation with my son, daughter-in-law and family. These shared experiences create bonds that are so crucial to family relationships.

One doesn’t have to fly or travel to create these bonds; shared positive experiences can happen anywhere. Think of common interests you share with your kids or family members and try to create new experiences together. The rewards are immeasurable.

Vickie Rubin, who lives in Williamsville, believes shared experiences are crucial to strong family relationships.