Before we had kids a vacation meant going somewhere fun and doing whatever we wanted.
Should we spend hours strolling along the cobblestone streets of Rome? Why not! Should we spend the day napping on a sun-kissed seashore in St. Lucia? No one's stopping us! How about an exhilarating trek along the Great Wall of China? Yes, yes, yes!!
Of course, we never actually did any of those things before we had kids. I spent some time wondering why we didn't go on more vacations before we had kids and then I realized we probably didn't need more vacations before we had kids.
I think Alanis Morisette would call that ironic.
Now we go on vacation with our kids. A vacation with kids essentially means parenting in a different location.
Should we bring along enough snacks to feed a small army? We'd better! Should we do four loads of laundry in four days? Unless we want our luggage to smell like urine! How about going to a nice restaurant? Yes, Chick-fil-a is very nice!
This month our family took a trip to the beach. Here we are ready to "relax" on our "vacation":
|The kids carried their shovels.|
We packed so much gear that the minivan barely made it up the slight incline of our driveway. The children peeked out of their car seats from behind walls of collapsible beach chairs, duffel bags and sand toys, and every time we turned a corner in our over-stuffed vehicle, Jack was buried by an avalanche of beach towels. Henry thought we were actually moving to the beach.
We rented a beach house with 13 other extended family members and when we arrived we discovered that our bedroom was so small we literally had to move the furniture into the living room and store our luggage in the car in order to have enough sleeping space for everyone. And one child still had to sleep in the bed with us every night. Of course, by "sleep" I mean unconsciously flail around.
Here is a photo of how John and I blissfully awoke each morning:
Here is what a typical day at the beach looked like for us:
|I told you I was obsessed.|
"Just like the brochure!" John suddenly exclaimed and I dropped my end of the beach tent for giggling so hard. It was all we could do to stumble down the rest of the sandy path, pausing between fits of laughter. The children raced ahead, approaching the blue-green water with giddy anticipation.
As soon as our feet hit the shore, the kids took off towards the foamy surf and luckily, thankfully, it only took a moment to remind us why we came in the first place.
If all the lugging and sweating and slathering was the price for sweet little sandy toes and salty kisses, we were happy to pay. The craziness of life can't always be escaped on vacation, but there is something about the sea that allows you to embrace it, even enjoy it. Our kids may be the reason we need vacations, but vacations wouldn't be the same without them.
The ocean reminded us of something we've always known: the best memories are made in bare feet, on a summer seashore. So we swam in the surf and played in the sand. We built castles and attempted to tunnel to China. We took walks at dusk and gathered nautical treasures. We stayed up too late and ate way too much ice cream.
|Also, we are so fun we plan theme nights. (This is baseball night.)|
We were cramped, sandy and tired...and so happy to be a part of the best kind of memory making.
We decided it was all worth it. The beach is always worth it.
|I am still finding sand in my toddler's ear.|
Embrace life's little messes by following along on my new Facebook page :)