We went on vacation to Hilton Head, SC with my husband’s whole family...19 people and counting. The family is big and loud, and I love spending time with them in a big house all together (plus it gives me a new appreciation for just how insane the Duggar family is). It’s a special bonding experience, and great for Tiny to spend lots of time with the cousins she loves so much. Thank you Nana and Dodo and the rest of the crew for a great week!
This year Tiny loved the beach and I am so happy, because I love the beach. I’ve always loved to sit with a good book, a bottle of sunscreen and a comfy chair and soak it in. Last year, I had the not so pleasant reality check that my days of sitting for hours in my old blue chair may be over. But a year makes a huge difference, and I realize now that all hope may not be lost. Let’s compare.
-Mama sits in the shade with baby because no amount of SPF is enough for her pale nearly see through infant skin.
-Baby eats sand by the mouthful.
-Mama and Dada drag carts of stuff to the beach only to turn around moments later due to a) naptime b) feeding time c) blowout d) all of the above
-Toddler stands still long enough to use spray sunscreen and exclaims, happily, “it tickles!” as its being applied.
- Mama sits in sun while toddler plays in the sand with cousins
-Toddler enjoys jumping waves with Mama and Dada
-Mama and Dada drag carts of stuff to the beach but stay for several hours because, gasp!, toddler is enjoying herself.
-Mama actually reads a couple pages of her book because toddler is able to chase crabs, dig for treasure, and fill bucket after bucket with sand
I don’t want to blow smoke and act like Tiny has pulled it together entirely (she hasn’t), and that this vacation and all vacations going forward will be relaxing (it wasn’t and they won’t). We are still a long way from me and a margarita staring blissfully at the crystal clear ocean pondering life. But, I had an epiphany; this new type of vacation can be fun too. It’s different than our kid free days, but we had a blast watching her discover and explore. It was fun to splash in the waves and dig in the sand with Tiny, like I used to when I was a kid. I loved watching Tiny laugh with her Dada and Nana as she hurdled waves.
Looking back, in 2012, I had set myself up for failure. Vacation with children will never be like vacation without them, and I failed to set this expectation with myself. I was still holding on to kid-free vacation hopes, and dragging the kid along. Family vacations aren’t so much about the relaxing as they are about the bonding, the memory making and just quality, silly time together. They are really fun, but really, really exhausting, and their supposed to be or you aren’t playing hard enough.
I’m not going to lie and pretend I don’t enviously stare at couples as they stroll aimlessly hand in hand down the beach. But, when I feel myself start to long for my old vacation style, I smile and remember there’s always naptime: a guaranteed few hours a day to sip that marg and read that book.