Sunday, November 11, 2012

vacation, re-defined

The concept of vacation has been redefined since having children. My job title is "full-time mother" and somehow that occupation finds me wherever we travel.

Vacation used to mean a long nap on the beach. It meant reading 3 or 4 books, staying up late into the night to finish them. It meant awakening at 10 or 11am, or simply when I felt awake. Vacation meant long hikes or adventurous activities or thrill seeking that justified lazy days to follow.

Those vacations are long gone. I am not going to pretend that I don't sometimes feel bitter and miss those luxurious days. I do. But I am growing to appreciate the type of vacation that includes my children, as incapable as they are of letting me relax the way I used to.

Our vacations are still a break from the hundreds of minute details that stress and distract in any given day. It is vacation because there are no phone calls to return, no urgent emails, no worries about keeping my house clean because a friend may be dropping by. There is no obligation to attend birthday parties or church events or baby showers. There is no one missing from the dinner table, or the breakfast table, or the lunch table. There are no dishwashers that need fixing or light bulbs that need changing. And most importantly, there is no longer a myriad of excuses for why I simply cannot find the time to play with my children.

On vacation we get a chance to focus completely on the relationships in our little family. We see what it looks like to love each other without all of the distractions that contaminate our daily routine. It is a time to practice being a family without all of the regular interruptions.

And while I might periodically fantasize about a vacation from motherhood and all of the parenting responsibilities that accompany it, in reality I would miss these two goof-balls. The experiences would not be the same without them, because vacation now means taking a precious adventure with my family.

I can finally understand why it might not be vacation without them.

Note: My challenge to myself was to get a good picture of both girls together... and please do not go thinking this was an easy task. I have the utmost respect for anyone who can get a decent family picture with small children involved.

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