Vacation. Relaxation. Rest. Serenity.
Those are the words my mind instantly conjures up when I hear my husband suggest I should tag along on his business trip to the beach with him for five days. I picture a sunny coast, comfy chair with a big umbrella, a “brain candy” kind of book, and sleep. Wonderful, uninterrupted sleep.
And then, as it always does, reality sets in and new
words come to my mind.
Temper tantrums. Multiple bathroom stops. Crying. And then I stop thinking just about myself and wonder what my kids might be like.
Vacation is something that, exactly like my previously flat tummy and skinny jeans, disappears into the mist at the moment your first child is born. Unless you are so fortunate as to have willing grandparents, you must f
ace reality that your children will be accompanying you on any trips for at least the next 20 years.
That being said, vacation with your kids can be a wonderful experience. Filled with laughter and fun, the memories you will make will last you a lifetime. The photos of your daughters splashing in the surf with their daddy and building sand castles will be priceless. However, being the realist that I am, I must also consider that the happy memories will not be the only ones that last a lifetime.
Let me explain. Our first night we stayed in a hotel room with two queen-sized beds and set up the pack ‘n play for the baby. Since we were all in the same room, my husband and I settled in for bed at the magic hour of 8pm, the time our kids went to bed. We spent a long night of up and down with the baby, who made her very loud protests known at being cramped in a pack ‘n play. At one point I slept across the foot of my daughters’ bed, where I was kicked in the back throughout my time there. Mercifully, morning arrived, and we set out to continue our adventure. I ignored the bleary-eyed guests all around our room in the hall, watching silently as we departed.
90 seconds into the trip, our oldest child asked the “are we there yet?” question. This continued every 45 seconds for the next 3.5 hours. Our van became a mobile movie marathon, my kids’ eyes glazed and zombie-like by the time we arrived at the hotel. I think we used up all t.v. time for the next two years on this trip. And by the way, I know there’s talk of giving President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize, but I think it’s only fair that the inventor of DVD players for the car be recognized first. The lives of many a parent and child have been spared thanks to this incredible ad
vancement of peace and harmony.
With Michael in meetings Thurs. and Fri., I was the sole agent for fun to the kids. First on our agenda was a shuttle ride to the beach. The driver tried to give ME a tip in exchange for a promise to ride a different shuttle on the way back, which was really unnecessary considering the baby wails in his ear were at half the normal decibel level. The older girls were entranced with the sights and sounds, oblivious to the fact that I was busy rescuing their sister from certain death every 10 seconds or so in the surf. Later I was asked to build sand castles masterpieces with only a shovel and a toothpick, all while scooping sand out of the baby’s mouth.
Time spent at the pool was not nearly so stressful with such a diminished chance of drowning. Strangely, my 4-year-old could not seem to hear me any of the 18 times I asked her to stay on the steps until I could be there with her, and each time I returned from chasing the baby away fro
m the pool’s edge, I raced back to find Lauren with her little face barely breaking the surface. I tried not to notice the smile on the face of the tanned, bikini-clad woman lounging nearby with a fruity drink of some kind in her hand.
For the sake of time, I will not mention the eating out experiences. Just know they involved drink spills and high chairs that sat unused at our table.
So, parents of young children, this is vacation. This is the dreamy time of making memories, the times that you will cherish looking back....only you’d better make sure to write them down or video the entire trip, because with the amount of sleep you’re going to get, you’ll forget that you even went on a trip the next day.
But with all that said, I know we will do it all again next year. I’ll get a chubby-cheeked kiss and little arms wrapped around my neck and be willing to brave the vacation experience again. Why? Because that’s just what supermoms do. Someday I'll have a vacation that is actually a vacation. Of course
by then I will be so wrinkly and old that there may be laws against people like me being on the beach.
But seriously, I’m nominating the car DVD guy