It's half-past eight on a Friday in Paris. My four children are packed into our van on our final trip to the airport. They are singing their favorite Justin Beiber song, while I shoot a video. The hum of their voices is our farewell song to the 2 week adventure we are all sad to see end. It's the same scene I know on many days in our truck back home, but today the atmosphere is different and there is harmony. We are on our way home from our European family adventure. Three destinations, 15 bags and the 6 people that make up my brood. At times it felt like another version of National Lampoons, The Charvet Wanabees go to Europe. One of the funniest scenes is us at the Passport check-in. 3 Charvets, David with his French passport, 2 Fishers, and one Burke. Me being the outcast, I knew I looked more like the nanny than the one responsible for all of the children. It's always a surprise to the one asking, "They're all yours?!?"
We had a great conversation last night over dinner, taking turns sharing our favorite moments from the trip. We visited Tuscany, Sardinia and spent our final days in Paris. My older girls dreamed of going up the Eiffel Tower. I used to bring them home snow globes from all my trips, and their best one was from France that had the Eiffel Tower, the Arc De Triomphe, and the Mont Martre. It was so exciting for me to see their astonished expressions as they peaked their heads through our driver's sun roof so they could take in the sites of buildings made of gold, historic statues, and exquisite French history. Here we are ½ way up the Tour Eiffel, unfortunately Shaya had already passed out, and Rain was barely holding it together after our 5am journey from Italy.
Paris was and still remains the most beautiful city in the world to me. David was very proud to bring his family back to his roots. David's fans greeted us with a welcoming smile and it felt very much like home. Funny to see their faces watching the guy who left Paris a single pop star and returned with his family of six… I have a premonition that we will spend a lot more time there. One of my favorite moments was seeing the Eiffel Tower's flickering lights - it sparkles like glitter on the hour every evening. It's magical! We are all learning French now, and I dream of spending more time there.
There were so many movies that I will replay from our vacation… Watching my 8 yr old jump off the pool cliff into the water, 20 ft below. She has never been a brave child, or into adventure but on this trip she really stepped outside her comfort zone. I think one of Shaya's best memories may have been watching Mommy jump, he counted me down and I got a screaming applause from all my kids - nothing fun about it for me really, but I took the challenge and realized I just don't have it in me like I used too!!! Lol! I also loved watching all my girls snorkeling in the Sardinian Sea with a school of fish while I stood on the boat feeding them left over Paninis.
Sierra's favorite thing about the trip was visiting the Italian ice cream shops, I don't love ice cream, but it was the best you can get -decadent! Neriah says she has too many great memories to choose just one, but she loved spending time with our family and friends, and swimming to the private beaches. Rain loved "going soooo fast on the boat"- nestled with the big girls - "it was like Splash Mountain!" Shaya in his terrible twos, successfully pulled off at least 3 very loud tantrums a day, but was calmed by the chocolate croissants & nutella crepes - unsure how he was going to score more, he fell in love with chocolate once again…
David loved jumping off the boat, swimming with all of us in the crystal blue Mediterranean waters. My favorite picture that will live on my family room wall is the final sunset we watched together in Sardinia.
We had 14 sleepless nights, playing our usual musical beds; we've tracked through 12 airports and are professionals now at getting 7 carry-ons quickly through security. We angered many romantic couples at restaurants, and even escaped a few, thanks to Tantrum Shaya! I think for the most part it was an incomparable experience for my family. Everyone found his or her own passion. Yet, it was the common denominator of our family and the time shared that we will remember the most. Oh and to be totally honest, the BEST pizza in the world.