Lessons from vacation

 

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We just returned from our annual Spring Break vacation to the ocean. So you’ll probably want to avoid me for a few days while I decompress after spending 16 hours in a car with children during the last week. I take a vacation every year with my family and yet I am still surprised at the things I learn. For those of you that haven’t had Spring Break yet, or who won’t be traveling until this summer, here are a few important lessons you might want to remember. 

1) The trip to your vacation spot is going to be worse than you can ever imagine. Traveling with children is similar to childbirth. The only way we do it more than once is by forgetting how horrible it truly was. We learned our lesson this year and we split the kids up (thanks Grandma and Grandpa)! Still, we were a whopping 15 miles from our house the first time we had to  stop for a potty stop (that turned out to be “ghost potty”, it disappeared as soon as she got in the bathroom). The rest of the trip wasn’t that bad because we went into it knowing that it was going to be absolutely horrible.

2) Someone is going to get sick. Last year it was all of us. One by one we fell victim to the stomach flu. Mike even had to propose to me after we both were up all night puking. We’ve always been really romantic. This year it was only me, but I got sick enough to ruin some days for all of us. I met some really nice people at the Seaside Hospital, however, and I learned some very important anatomy lessons. Turns out you have TWO kidneys. Who knew? I got to enjoy too much of vacation on Oxycodone (which was not at all enjoyable) but my mom (who clearly already knows this lesson) had supplies for every kind of injury and illness imaginable. 

3) Something is going to get broken. Even if you don’t travel with small children, you likely travel with adults who drink. One way or another, something will break. I won’t say what we broke this time (the blinds) or who did it (the kids) or how (jumping on the bed and grabbing on to them) but I will say you should plan on paying a bit more than what your reservation is supposed to cost. 

4) There are going to be misunderstandings. You are going to be in a new and unfamiliar place. Children don’t always do well with change. I’ve heard of a small child that couldn’t reach the bathroom sink to brush her teeth in a rental house and instead was found dipping her toothbrush in the toilet. Minor misunderstanding. I’m sure this happens to other children too, not just mine? I should admit that this happened last year, and this year she proved full mastery over the toothbrushing situation. She did, however, never figure out how to enter or exit the house we stayed in for 6 days, despite the three entry doors. She tried closets, bedrooms, and eventually we would just find her staring out the window at the beach 50 feet away and we knew she didn’t know how to get out. It happens. 

5) Someone is going to get mad. My family is fortunate that we don’t have taboo discussion topics like religion or politics. We can talk about just about anything. However what we will never speak about again is the legendary Settlers of Catan game of 2014. The game in which my sweet, sensitive, and very thoughtful sister contemplated waterboarding my fiance. That is how serious it got. 

6) You are not going to get anything accomplished. I brought a stack of work and three books that I wanted to complete while on vacation. I was bedridden for 80% of my trip and I still didn’t complete a single thing. I did stare at a single puzzle piece for 20 minutes until I found its correct location. I did provide 55 adjectives for Mad Libs.  I did watch Frozen from start to finish with my children. I did not finish a single task that I needed to do. Don’t even bother bringing it with you. 

7) You are going to be ready to go home. It seems unfathomable when you first arrive, but even paradise fades when you’ve slept in an unfamiliar bed for too many nights. By the last day of your trip you will find yourself yelling at everyone you are with for no other reason than you need to go home. It is the only thing that prepares us for number 8.

8) The trip home is even worse than the trip there. 150 episodes of Radiolab later… we made it. But not unscathed. We need months of quiet to make up for the noise, years of vegetables to make up for the junk food, and a good dose of my pain pills to numb our nerves. Which makes number 9 so strange. 

9) As soon as you get home, you want to go on vacation again. 

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