Vacation

Some good friends are getting married this November and are planning a beach honeymoon in the Virgin Islands. Talking about this with them recently, I got a little misty-eyed ragingly jealous.

Our honeymoon, while lovely, was emphatically un-tropical: we went to Banff in early October and did a lot of hiking and gazing at the golden aspens. We just aren’t (I thought, then) beach honeymoon sort of people. But, while most days I wouldn’t trade either of our daughters for one, seven, or a thousand tropical vacations, did that conversation ever make me feel a pang of Now why in the hell didn’t we do that while we could? I made a wistful comment or two and then spent the rest of the conversation drooling openly over my friends’ travel guidebook.

Last week we mentioned to our soon-to-be-wed friends our Christmas plans: the four of us are going to Hawaii with my folks and my brother. This is a luxury, to be sure (bankrolled by my very generous parents), and something to look forward to—and then remember—for months and months. But I did feel just a slight a massive disconnect when our friends’ reply to the news of our vacation plans was See! You can still go on tropical vacations with kids!

It’s true: you can go just about anywhere you want with kids of any number and age. And in December we will have a great time splashing in the waves with Ingrid and watching Iris’s chunky little suncreen-slathered body accumulate sand like a cinnamon-sugar doughnut. What our friend clearly, deeply did not get, though (and what I surely didn’t get, myself, before our first vacation as parents) was that vacation with little ones, while refreshing and interesting in its own way, is just not restful. It is a change of scene, a chance to see and learn and teach new things, an opportunity to know each other differently. It isn’t, however, a break.

We are on vacation this week and next. Not in the tropics, but visiting my parents in the misty-moisty pacific northwest. We all flew here together, then A left the next day for a five-day conference for work. There’s been no break this week: jetlagged Ingrid up at 5:15 every day; Iris sleeping ok but nursing like a fiend; my saintly parents lending as many hands as they can but unable as I am to predict or calm the many tantrums each day. We’ve rushed through a zoo in the pouring rain with the nap clock ticking, attended a kickass library story hour, and thrown a truckload of rocks into Puget Sound, but for the most part, the past several days have felt suspiciously like everyday life, except with less sleep and better coffee.

A will be back tomorrow, and then we all (A, me, the kids, my brother, my folks, their cat) will drive to the coast, to a place I spent many a summer week as a kid. A great place, a place that I’m extra excited to go with Ingrid so grown up and aware and into exploring, because I can’t wait to show it to her. We’ll still be nursing and changing diapers and peeling apples and deciphering tantrums and orchestrating bedtimes and naptimes and meals, but I hope there’ll be a little of the sublime in there too, as well as perhaps, maybe, a tiny bit more sleep.

Oh, and I don’t think I’ll have any internet access there at all. So leave me some uplifiting vacation comments to read when I get back.

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4 thoughts on “Vacation

  1. I know just what you mean. At least it will make you appreciate home in a different way, where you have all the supplies you need and you have a rhythm.

    Sometimes I wonder, too, why we never did things like go to Italy or whatever. Maybe now we never will!

  2. My parents used to travel without us, even when we were little. Imagine my surprise to find that I’m one of those parents who, two years in, hasn’t been away from her child for a single night. It isn’t that I *can’t* go on vacation without him, it’s that I know I would miss him too much and worry about him too much to have a good time. So I guess it is more of these “change of scene” vacations than relaxation for a good long while. (Maybe when he is old enough to really understand that I’m definitely coming back and just have fun with his cousins, we’ll go away on our own.)

    (I guess that wasn’t uplifting.)

  3. Oh, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Vacations, etc, just CHANGE with a child (or in your case, children). While it is also wonderful, etc, to get away, you are always still on duty.

    But Hawaii still sounds wonderful! I am sure Iris and Ingrid will have a great time…and I hope you manage to sneak one, too. 🙂

  4. Oh, I know EXACTLY what you mean. Vacations, etc, just CHANGE with a child (or in your case, children). While it is also wonderful, etc, to get away, you are always still on duty.

    But Hawaii still sounds wonderful! I am sure Iris and Ingrid will have a great time…and I hope you manage to sneak one, too. 🙂

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