As adults and as parents it can seem like we’re so far from our childhoods—but Kristen Bell is proving that, sometimes, it’s good to reconnect to the places we visited as kids.
Along with husband Dax Shepard, the 37-year-old mom recently took her two daughters, 4-year-old Lincoln and 2-year-old Delta, back to a lake in Michigan like the ones she and Shepard splashed around in while growing up in the Mitten state. Recalling the vacation to Airbnbmag, Bell said it helped her family connect in a different way than they do in Los Angeles.
Even if most of us don’t have the budgets to rent out a 15-bedroom lake house like Bell and Shepherd, the story demonstrates that taking the time to re-ground ourselves in the places that shaped us can revitalize our sense of purpose as parents and partners.
I know this first-hand: My husband and I recently took our son to stay in my in-laws’ two bedroom cottage—the same one my husband spent summers in as a child.
Although our digs were not as palacial, the rest of our experience certainly echoes Bell’s, who said she, “learned more about my husband as we both shared stories about things we did growing up.”
Likewise, my husband and I spent our getaway walking down winding country roads and swimming with our son in the lake. Every new experience for my son and I brought back a childhood memory for my husband, which helped me to understand him even better.
Experts agree with Bell: Sharing childhood memories helps build a stronger marriage.
In her book You Owe it to Yourself: Effective Keys to a Happier Marriage, psychotherapist Atara Malach notes that understanding your partner’s childhood is key. But it can be hard for couples to find “the right time, the right place and the right mood to share childhood memories.”
Like Bell and Shepherd, the right place and time is around the campfire overlooking the lake for my husband and me. We’ll no doubt be making a return trip to reconnect as our son grows older, so he can walk down the same dirt roads his dad did and jump off the same docks.
Shepard and Bell also plan to repeat their trip, saying they plan to “go home” to Michigan for at least one week every year.
Whether it’s in a 15-bedroom rental like they had or a small family cabin like we stayed in, reconnecting is essential and worth making time for. Especially if there are roasted marshmallows involved.