By the time this hits your in-box, my little gang should be somewhere meandering through the emerald hills of Ireland. It’s the first of our tri-city UK tour: Dublin, Edinburgh, and London. Knight and I stormed London twenty years ago, so we decided to mount a return, this time with the Prankster Duo in attendance.

This is a BIG event for our family. Over a year worth of planning and saving so we could share the world with our boys. We wanted to wait until they were old enough to not only appreciate the trip, but remember it. With our oldest starting his last year of high school and the youngest treading on his heels as an incoming junior, we felt this was the perfect time.

When we planned the trip, it was vital that they get a say in where we went and what we saw. Since Knight and I have been to London before, there were certain things that were a must (British National Museum of History, Bath & Stonehenge, etc.), but when the Duo chimed in, we have new things to see, like Churchill’s War Museum and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. By adding the Duo’s decisions into our Master Plan of Travel, I’m fairly sure I won’t be fielding the “Aw, mom, this is boooorrrriiiinnnggg” song.

While giving the Duo a chance to see what lies outside of the U.S., the Knight and I will be secretly cherishing every damn moment with our boys. The fact that they will soon be starting out on that rough road known as “Adulting” is never far from our minds. As excited as we are for them to conquer that adventure, as parents that nasty gnat, Worry, loves to buzz around.

I know that at each stage of their lives, I’ve said, “This is my favorite time with them”, but honest and truly, now that their individual personalities are soaring wild and free, this really is my favorite time with them. Every time my youngest and I debate the merits of sarcasm or take part in things like Long Sword classes, or every time my oldest and I snicker over another satirical political post or bond through classic cinema time, I tuck those memories away with infinite care. All too soon, their lives will be full of professional commitments, friendship demands, and the insatiable need to feed their curiosity, which leaves the parenting unit few chances to zip in for a visit.

I used to think when the moment of separation loomed, I would be heartbroken, but I find that’s not the case. Instead my chest swells with bittersweet pride known to every mama. Here’s hoping the Knight and I managed to arm them well with the necessary survival skills because as I watch these two young men stand on the edge of a world that won’t have a clue what’s about to hit them, all I can think is that this is going to be a hell of a ride.

Which takes me back to our trip. I plan on sucking the marrow from every moment, which is why I’m so grateful I got BEG FOR MERCY off to my editor before we left. Once we return and life spins back into its normal orbit, I’ll be back at the keyboard, but for now, Knight is making popcorn and we’re going to settle in and enjoy the family show.

See you in a couple of weeks!

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