Everybody is taking fancy vacations, and, if you have one planned, you may be idealizing it like I always do. I see other’s pictures and posts on Instagram and Facebook and think “OH, WE WILL HAVE A PERFECT TIME TOO!”
We just returned from the beach. This is a familiar trip, and I vowed to pack light and just have a laid back week this time. Right? Two adults, two kids, and our two dogs + beach vacay accoutrement in a Prius. Yes, you read that right. Consider this odd objective #1.
Ridiculous requirement #2: Leave with a clean house! I don’t know about your place, but the end of the school year delivers a mess of a house full of papers and general detritus. Queue a major household purge which made my husband’s first week of break (he’s a teacher) super enjoyable (not really).
Clean house. Check.
Silly idealized vacation situation #3: Remember that light packing? I fit all of our clothes, swimsuits, beach towels for an 8 day/7 night trip in one large suitcase!
Light packing champion. Che…
Dog crate, food, bowls, and meds, inner tubes, nets, buckets, and boogie board, beach bag, hats, sunglasses, toiletries, tennis shoes, books, electronics (you know you take them too, don’t judge), more books, and art supplies.
Prius was packed to the gills. Check.
Crazy concept #4: I started taking pictures with each level of packing for a possible organizational post and then found my sweet Tetris like layers had been denied by my artist of a husband who literally just shoved everything in the best he could. Bless his heart. It worked out fine. We got there with everything. This happened on the way home too and forced me to forego a watermelon and a hanging plant at the big peach in Clanton. Le sigh.
Nonsensical notion #5: I am not grocery shopping or cooking.
I found myself stuck on the aisles of a big box store the night we arrived. The next morning the kids woke up hungry. Imagine that! We did splurge at a few of our favorite restaurants, but the food situation is the same as at home. Tweens are hungry all the time and eating out for every meal would have required me to sell one or both dogs on the trip.
Illogical idea #6: We are going to do ALL THE THINGS at the beach!
We made BIG PLANS I SAY! We planned to parasail and kayak and hit Big Kahuna’s water park. I wanted sushi. We were swimming every single day and playing to our hearts’ content. We’d enjoy sleeping in and sun,sun, sun! The reality is, though, nothing ever turns out quite as we plan. Over the course of the week, we set the kids to play on the huge ocean inflatables only to have them get way out in the super rough water and decide to come back in. They declined the sushi joint I picked. We had a couple of meltdowns (mostly after lots of sun and being in a different place). One kid did not sleep well. Both dogs were up before 6 every morning asking to be walked. Half of our days were rain outs. Parasailing and Big Kahuna’s did not happen.
Ultimately, I posted a lot of fun pictures through the week on my social media, and, seriously, we always have an amazing time connecting, playing, refreshing, BUT, the reality is we are still moms and dads and kids on vacation. Arriving at a vacay destination does not induce bodily rainbow projections (although normal projections like vomiting, sometimes, yes). And, yet, every year, we seem to forget the trials and tribulations (My kids contracted hand, foot, mouth one year! Fun!), and gear it up for next time. Even at the beach, I had a kid roll her eyes and one exhibit his tween angst chagrin part of the time. Dogs had to be walked and attended to frequently enough. I am still mom and dad is still dad. So, for all of the clear water, beautiful sun, and salty fun, we still had our normal lives and roles.
Nevertheless, preposterous perceptions aside, we laughed, we swam, we walked the beach and the complex daily, and we made irreplaceable memories. We are already idealizing next year’s vacation!
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Christa Landingham and her husband are Madison County natives and life-long residents. They have boy/girl twins and two crazy puppers. She loves all things teaching, organizing, and supporting local small businesses. In her “free-time” she loves to garden, travel with her family, volunteer, and comb local thrift stores. Pearl Jam is her jam.