It has been a minute. We (as in my kids, my husband, and I) went on an 8 day vacation, and so I was either prepping and packing, traveling, or unpacking (and trying recover from the jet lag) for the past couple of weeks.
When I think of a vacation, my brain automatically goes to a place of relaxation, of not having any set plans and going with the flow . . . and while we definitely relaxed our plans and our schedule, there was still a fair amount of planning ahead and thinking things out, in order to make this trip a success.
Here’s the thing about family vacations. I’m a big believer in them. I love the memories made and the time together, but they are not the easiest thing on the planet for the parents. I recently heard someone referring to vacations with kids as the “away game” of parenting, and truer words have never been said. Everything I do at home, still has to happen on vacation with some minor adjustments. Meal planning (whether that be eating out or cooking in our condo) . . . check . . . laundry . . . that too (although I was super glad and thankful to have the ability to do laundry and not bring home tons of dirty clothes) . . . schedules and activities . . . double check . . . even a little discipline had to be thrown in here and there. Family vacations, unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), do not give us respite from our day-to-day parenting responsibilities.
So why bother? If traveling with kids is work, then why do it? For starters, I’ve probably said it 50 times on this page, easy doesn’t always equal good, and work doesn’t mean bad. The best things in life often come about because of hard work . . . as a result of putting in the effort. And with kids, it is definitely about the moment and the adventures and the fun, but also, it’s about the long game . . . the family building and bonding that can only happen with the level of closeness (both in proximity and time together) that vacations bring . . . the memories made and shared . . . even the mishaps that will make us laugh for years.
The reality is, I’m so grateful for the ability to travel. I know that not everyone is afforded that privilege, and so although, it’s hard, and the recovery time gets longer as I get older, I’ll keep planning vacations whether they be near or far, huge adventures thousands of miles away or short weekends at the beach. I’ll keep putting in the work and making the effort, because the other reality is, these days are limited. I know there will come a day when my kids do their own thing with their own families, and they’ll come home exhausted but happy, full of memories, and with plenty of stories of rising before the sun, racing to planes, never-ending road trips, keeping bottomless pit kiddos endlessly fed, and seeing this amazing and beautiful world God has created.