The warmer weather has finally arrived and is here to stay — at least I hope so! With the warmer weather comes the end of school and the beginning of SUMMER BREAK! That means vacation season is right around the corner — except a vacation with littles hardly feels like a “vacation” at all. After what felt like sort of a disaster last year, I vowed that no matter what, I was going to actually enjoy my vacation with my family of four this year.
Last year we took my then four year old and 18 month old to the beach with the hopes and dreams that we would pop up a tent and spend hours on the beach playing in the sand, making sand castles, digging ditches and making swimming pools, and taking long walks searching for sea shells and splashing in the ocean. I dreamed of watching my son and husband play ball and swim, and all of us eating our snacks and lunch together on a huge blanket while listening to the waves. To make a long story short, zero of that happened. No one could eat a thing without getting a mound of sand in his or her mouth. My daughter just wanted to dive head first into the violent ocean and she had zero interest in playing in the sand. I watched other children sit nicely and play with all kinds of sand toys and my kids could care less. I was annoyed, frustrated, and honestly disheartened that my kids hated the beach.
The main reason we’re going back is that all year my kids have talked about how much they loved the beach and how they are dying to go back. To them, going out to the beach for an hour or two at a time is awesome! Since the memories they have of the beach are amazing, I want to give it another shot, so that they can have wonderful childhood memories of our family of four going on vacation together. THEIR vacation. I am going to adjust my expectations of what THEIR vacation looks like in order to enjoy it myself. So that’s what I’m going to do!
Getting a child out of their daily environment and routine can be really hard on them. Let’s be real — sometimes that’s hard on me! It can cause early morning wake ups, leaving restaurants because of meltdowns, and skipping dinner altogether for ice cream because that is what the doctor ordered. Instead of having meltdowns myself because of it, I am going to TRY to see this as an opportunity to love them and care for them in a new way as they cope with being pulled from their normalcy.
For some reason, on vacation I tend to lose my patience. We have all taken time out of our lives and spent extra money to do something “amazing” and when the wheels start to fall off, I get frustrated. This year I am going to try my best to start my day with some deep, meaningful breaths, some time for prayer, and if at all possible, moments of quiet to get my heart and mind ready to face the day. This can be five minutes during a walk to grab a cup of coffee, while pushing a stroller. I think I will be better able to serve my family and myself if I take a moment to just breathe and be thankful for this sweet and chaotic time together.
I understand that we cannot let our children live off of chocolate like my daughter would like or watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ’til they are blue in the face, but when it comes to trips, you better believe I am going to hand over my phone a time or two at dinner so that I can actually have a conversation with my husband. I might even let them have ice cream for breakfast! You want to know why? One reason: So we will all be happy for that moment! It is the one time where I feel like we can all break the rules a little bit! I’m going to break my own rules too by not counting a single calorie and ordering that extra fruity drink while hanging out by the pool. Will I pay for it when we get home? Probably, but I think it will totally be worth it to see the smile on their faces! Order that hot fudge sundae for breakfast!
Take the picture of them asleep on the table at dinner. Take the picture of them pitching a fit on the beach. Take the picture of them playing in the sand happily (even if it only lasted five minutes). Take the picture of them all dolled up for a night on the town. Take all the pictures because as our memories fade, these are the things that will spark them again. Looking back at my photos from last year is what makes me want to go back this year and do it all over again! I remember that it was hard, but I also have these sweet photos reminding me how great it was and how this year, we are going to make it even better!!