I think it’s generally understood that vacationing with young kids isn’t really vacationing. I mean, for the kids I guess it is. For the parents, not as much. For us, it’s more of a pretend vacation. It’s fun to pretend that you will get to read that book. It’s fun to pretend that the kids will sleep in. Even on vacation, you still have to complete all the tasks of caring for your children with the added challenge of leaving the place where all of the things that make that job easiest are located: your house.
With totally realistic expectations and a minivan full of crap we thought we’d need but ended up never touching (see: book), we departed for South Carolina. And, spoiler alert, we actually had a great time.
This was the first year that anything involving swimming and our children was even remotely fun. We’ve spent years watching Henry cling to the side of pool walls, whine about getting water in his eyes and just, like, basically scream at the site of his swimsuit before we thought, hmm, maybe he could benefit from some swimming lessons, no? Eight Saturday mornings in a smelly YMCA later and we had to basically beg him to stay closer to shore while he was willingly SWIMMING IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN. Charlie was equally as enthusiastic.
Millie, as is her style, just expected to be able to swim without the assistance of a flotation device and was a tad disconcerted when she would wrestle out of her floatie and promptly sink. She did get to see the ocean for the first time and boy, isn’t that a perk of parenthood – getting to show your kids something new and awe-inspiring for the first time. She took to it.
I’ve been vacationing in the same spot off and on since I was just a few years older than Henry is now. We stayed in the same condominium, slept in the same bedrooms and swam in the same pool where I bounced around as an adolescent. It was positively surreal to be the mom this time. The one unpacking the groceries, slathering the sunscreen, hoping for just five minutes of peace and quiet.
We celebrated Father’s Day and painted pottery and went on pony rides and just generally reveled in not being at our normal house with our normal responsibilities. I guess that counts as a true vacation after all.