Tag Archives: vacations

Family Vacation: What I learned

We recently got back from a trip to Florida. The purpose was to give my dad a sort of birthday present (he turns 70 this month) of having all 4 of the grandchildren on a trip together. So my wife and I went with the girls and Pam, my sister, went with our niece & nephew. My brother-in-law was unable to make it due to work. The third sibling, my brother, was also not there but he likely didn’t want to go. So we had a total of 5 adults with my parents, sister, Lisa and myself. The 4 kids are between the ages of 3 and 7. So obviously, they had the advantage over the adults.

Did we have fun? Sure, there was fun. The kids seemed to enjoy playing together, though there was a large amount of whining. I’m also sure I speak for many when I say putting extended family together for a long time is not without stress. But this whole thing was a learning experience, so I will now share the knowledge that has been bestowed upon my squishy brain matter.

FLYING WITH KIDS IS A PAIN- We had a 2 hour delay for our flight to Florida. This pretty much killed the excitement of 5-year-old Phoebe, who now panicked that the trip was ruined. By the time we got on the plane and took off, she hadn’t fully recovered. Zoe, the cranky pants toddler, was tired but did not manage to fall asleep until about 20 minutes before landing. However, we also had a yappy dog on the plane that barked the whole time. The flight home was very early and Phoebe spent most of it being difficult. Zoe was pretty good, only fussing once which was cancelled by the presence of apple juice. This was the opposite of what we expected, having thought Phoebe would be excited by the plane and entertained and Zoe would get cranky. So maybe next time, which may very well be in a few years, we’ll just drive.

LET THE GRANDPARENTS TAKE THE KIDS- If my mom or dad wanted to go somewhere with the kids, they pretty much got it. Lisa and I were able to get a few moments of quiet and even got to go out after the kids went to bed. Once just the two of us and once with Pam, who by that point needed the break as well. Plus, we all got to take a nap at least once! How awesome is that? How sad is it that I get excited about naps?

BE BETTER AT PLANNING OUTINGS- Somehow we ended up going to the Naples Zoo on one of the hottest days of the week. Needless to say, everyone was cranky about halfway into the time there. Also, the animals as a whole were smarter than us and mostly laid around in whatever shade was present. Good for you, striped hyena and honey badger. Bad for the tourists, us included. Zoe also clarified that every big cat she saw apparently goes “meow, meow”. I’m sure the 3-year-old has conducted scientific research so pass this on to the tigers and leopards. No roaring for you. It’s “meow, meow” or nothing. So sayeth the toddler.

We’ve taken short little weekend trips with the kids in the past, but this was our first big family trip. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for vacations with Phoebe and Zoe. People keep asking us if we’ll do a Disney trip with them, which I think is possible but certainly not until they are old enough to remember it better. This is the question about the trip we just took. Will they remember much of it? A little, I think, but it will probably be more along the lines of how they had fun with their grandparents and cousins. So I think vacations like trips to Disney World and things like that can wait until Lisa and I don’t have to change diapers at the airport.




Escape routes

I live in Massachusetts, which like many places is getting repeatedly slapped on the ass by winter. This has caused quite a bit of cabin fever for folks I know. Myself included, if I’m being honest. I’ve heard the phrase “I need a vacation” pretty frequently.

The weather has also impacted my workplace, causing it to be busier and higher in the stress department. Someone inevitably says the same thing, at least once a day.

I need a vacation. I just need to get away. I need to escape.

Now of course, the reality is that a lot of people just can’t snap their fingers and be on vacation. Some people can. Good for you. I won’t pretend I don’t envy that a little.

Then there is a little thing that I’ve seen show up on the old Facebook feed. I’m not quoting it directly, but it boils down to instead of wishing for a vacation try having a life you don’t need to escape from. I don’t remember exactly where I saw that. I’m sure it was meant to be one of the motivational things we all share on occasion. I will say this, though. To anyone who really feels that way.

You. Are. A. Liar.

Sorry but I don’t buy it. As different as people are, I have never met a single individual who has a life they don’t need an escape route from. If you really think you do have such a magical existence, perhaps you’d be interested in buying this magic rock I have that repels flying alligators. I’m happy to sell. Name your price.

I happen to think there are a lot of great things about my life. I’m married to a very smart, very cute woman. I have two gorgeous little girls that I adore. I have my own home. I have a few other things going for me too. But do I have stuff in my life that sucks? Yeah, quite a few things. And if I want to get away from those things, then that’s normal.

I read. I play video games. My wife and I try to have people over for D&D or other tabletop games regularly. They aren’t big expensive vacations, but they are still escape routes. Would I love to go on a big vacation? Sure. But it will take some planning and saving. And the financial gods aren’t always with us. In the mean time, I try to enjoy what I have and am allowed to want a break once and awhile.

I’ve also begun to notice that the ones who claim to have “magic lives” seem to take a lot of vacations or weekend getaways. So basically, your life is one big attempt to run away from something? And I’m not allowed to want to catch a break from mine? Like I said, you’re a liar. Fuck you with a cactus that has a spider on it. I hope it gets stuck and you and the spider have to be roommates.

To the rest of you, remember that we can take the little vacations. We have our tiny escape routes. And yeah, they don’t last. No vacations do. That would make them everyday life. Which is what you take a vacation from. Confused? Yeah well, maybe you need to eat more whole grains or something.  I’m not a doctor.