Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This summer did you go on a Family Trip or a Vacation?

A few months back I posted the first little essay in what was to be a series on our summer vacation… It was all about getting a passport for a glorious although undetermined trip to somewhere exotic.  Well the reservations are made and the exotic place is…


Just 6 hours away.  No passport required.  No air travel required.  No customs required.  About 1/10th the price of the plane tickets elsewhere. 

So it isn't very exotic, but right about now I am ready to go anywhere to escape the triple digits.  For those reading from some place outside of Arizona - yes it is a dry heat - but 113 is just not pleasant.  

As I get ready for this grand vacation I have to remind myself that it is really a Family Trip not a Vacation.

According to Merriam-Webster 

A vacation is

"a respite or time of respite from something". 

A trip is 
"to journey to somewhere".

A time of respite (vacation)  versus a journey to somewhere (trip)

My kids travel well.  I am sure it has to do with the fact that we let them play with all sorts of fun electronic devises while we drive.  I am not ashamed to plug them in for a few hours.  The devices only last 2 of the 6 hours - we don't let them play the whole time,  but they feel like this is the only time we say "yes" whenever they ask so they have a good attitude generally.  And then the batteries die.  Please don't tell them about car chargers.  We also bring way too much other stuff- snacks, music, treasure box, books, Madlibs… they are all fun and wonderful things that we work into the mix to make the time fly by.  

It is a lot of work and leaves me with very little leg room. The car it packed to the windows.  Most of the drive I am sitting
cross legged bent over in my seat looking for something for someone in one of the very organized bags on the floor boards.  But road trips generally go really well.  Once we got to our destination and ALMOST got back in the car to drive longer because everyone was happy until we got arrived!

Because it seems like the stress level goes up once we reach the destination.  There is usually still cooking or feeding the family in some way 3-5 times a day, arguments to break up, kids to put down for naps, shoes to find etc.  

We usually let the kids stay up late so the grown-up time is at a minimum and we often feel like we need a vacation upon returning from our trips.  If we travel to the east coast we keep them on west coast time because it makes EVERYTHING easier. That leaves us with zero time alone together.  And I love my husband. I like him too.  After 19 years together he is still so much fun to be with.  Especially when I can talk to him without the competition of our offspring. 

Because my primary job is a parent - to really get a vacation I sometime feel like I have to escape from my 'jobs' as mom.  I know that is sad.   Please don't judge me.  I am being honest here.  

We have to pay a bazillion dollars for a sitter for the weekend or beg and plead with family to let them all come stay.  This happens (luckily) once every year or two.   Then, we spend much of the time talking about how much we really do miss the kids - but enjoying being able to finish a complete sentence, and eat without cutting up someone else's food and just breathe without worrying about all those things we parents carry in our heads. 

Both the family trip and the vacations are important!   The memories our family makes on the trips are priceless.   Entering into that adventure with a shift in mindset is essential however to my enjoying the trip.  If I enter into a family trip with the expectation that I will get a vacation - that I will get to sleep in every morning, and sip margaritas on the beach while I talk with my husband and watch my kids play joyfully in the sand all day, well that is just unrealistic.  I have to see the joy in the experience - they will bicker of course. They will get grumpy, of course. They are KIDS after all.  They are also going to giggle and and run and play and we are all going to have great fun.   But my fun comes in watching them have fun!

And maybe, just maybe, my husband and I will get a night away…sometime soon...a mini vacation…To sleep, and talk, to connect, and to recharge ourselves! 

Soon after writing this we took our vacation with friends and dubbed a new class of adventure - Journey with Friends!  

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