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.