Our podcast this week is a collection of stories and reflections on Traveling While Parenting.

It is part of our. series on Parenting Through the holidays happening now through the end of the year.

I am listening to one of my Spotify playlists as I write. Music helps me focus. The podcast I choose is called, Respectul Collaborative Parenting. I created it as background music for the intro to a talk Don and I gave years ago as we were first embarking on our journey together with Focused Healthy Family. We had a slideshow of pictures playing as people came into the room before we began our talk and this was music I choose to play with the slideshow.

Finally Found a Home by Huey Lewis & The News is the first song that plays for me now as I listen.

It used to make me so fed up
People always asking me
What will you be when you grow up
You’re gonna need security
Spent a little time in school
Wishing I was somewhere else
Having fun and acting cool
I just want to be myself

And I finally found a home
Where I’ll never be alone
Right here where I belong
And I finally found a home
Here, in a song

Huey Lewis & The News

I often find so much meaning in the songs that I hear as I write. And it is not coincidence that the perfect song for my writing topic appears.

As I write this, November 16, 2022, I am reminded that 30 years ago today, I began my career as an Occupational Therapist. November 8, 1992 I moved from Whitehall, Pa to Charlotte, NC to begin working at Charlotte Rehab Hospital. That was what it was called at the time, or had they already changed the name to The Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation? It has had many name changes. And that reflects how my journey has grown and evolved over the past 30 years.

I was eager to move away from Whitehall, the place we had lived since 1982 after my father lost his Job in Pittsburgh. He was a mechanical engineer working in the power plant industry and many cutbacks were happening at that time. I was 12, almost 13 when we moved to Whitehall and it was culture shock moving from one end of Pennsylvania to the other. That was one of the most challenging times in my childhood. My grandmother had also passed earlier that year. It took me many years to realize the connection with her passing as part of my inner struggles in my teenage years. Her passing along with being a teenager in a new town where social rules and norms were different from where I had previously lived affected my journey.

Flash forward to 1992 when I graduated from Elizabethtown College and searched for a new place to live and begin my adult life. I wanted to find a place to live that had the feel of Bethel Park, Pa. We had moved to Bethel Park when I was turning 10 and in the 3 years we lived there, I made so many friends and had the best years of my childhood.

I fell in love with Charlotte when I came to interview. Charlotte is a melting pot of people from all over, not only from many other places in the US, but also from other countries. It was a mid-sized growing city where I felt accepted and welcomed like I had when I moved to Bethel Park and in contrast to how I felt when we moved to Whitehall when I began 7th grade in a classroom where it was rare for there to be a new kid in school.

I remember going to the library as part of my job search in the summer of 1992 after I finished my second required internship/ clinical at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation in Allentown. I looked up which cities had the most sunny days and found Cincinnati and Charlotte and if memory serves me right, Denver, Co.

My sister had moved to Raleigh, NC that summer after she got married in June, taking a job in Raleigh because she hoped to go to Veterinary school. I liked the idea of living in warmer climate as well as living closer to my sister. Yet, I also wanted to forge out on my own and the idea of moving across country to Colorado sounded exciting.

North Carolina must have had the biggest need for Occupational Therapists at the time because the companies in NC were willing to pay for my expenses to fly to NC and interview. The other places told me to let them know if I was in the area.

Amazingly, I coordinated several companies to pay for me to fly to Charlotte and then to Raleigh and I interviewed in several places including Durham and Winston- Salem. And I ended my trip with time in Raleigh with my sister and her husband. We even made a day trip to the beach. -funny side note: I used to call it “the shore” growing up in Pa and traveling to the Jersey Shore. In NC and SC, it’s the beach.

I have made so many road trips since that time both as a single person and then as a married couple and beginning in 1997, as part of a family with children.

Growing up, I lived in 5 different cities and in 3 different states. Raising my family in one location has brought a different perspective for me and I see the value in the experience my children have had as well as the value in my childhood experiences living in different places.

I have been a parent for over 25 years now. Our first road trip was when Harrison was 6 weeks old and his crazy parents choose to drive first to St. Louis to have Christmas Eve with the Grothoffs and then leave Christmas Day to travel to Whitehall, Pa to have a day after Christmas celebration with the Menzos. He slept well in the car and it was the first of many road trip adventures over the years. I still remember telling Don how I could not wait until there were several kids in our backseat, all talking and even arguing together. I desired that because of the memories I had from my childhood as we traveled back to NJ for holidays and family gatherings.

We create many memories during our parenting journey and travel gives us the opportunity for a variety of memories and the opportunity to create traditions. It is all a matter of perspective. I invite you to seize the opportunity as you travel over the next month to visit family or friends. Even an hour ride in the car or a trip across town is an opportunity to create memories.

I would love to hear your travel stories, traditions and memories you have created during your journey.


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