Uh-Oh. My 2-year-old's Homesick on Our Family Vacation

Today is the second day of our family ski trip. My husband and I have gone skiing every February since the day we met with the exception of the year Mazzy was born.

Last year, we went with my husband’s cousins, including our cousin Robyn who doesn’t ski, so she watched Mazzy (one-year-old at the time) while we hit the slopes.

It worked out splendidly.

This year we are away with the same people and had the same plan in mind.

But you know what they say about the best laid plans…

We arrived yesterday evening and spent the night unpacking, ordering in take-out and figuring out who slept where in the condo. We set Mazzy up in a crib in the guest bedroom on the second floor. The crib is about 3/4 of the size of her regular crib but she still fits fine.

Leading up to bedtime, Mazzy seemed okay. The television was on freely (there are two older kids in the house) which is always a treat for her.

Then it came time to get her ready for bed.

Mazzy was uncharacteristically well-behaved throughout the bedtime process. Lying down as asked when I changed her diaper, sitting quietly on my lap while I read her three books— no fussing at all. Then I picked her up to sing our standard lullaby and finally, she let her true feelings out.

“I want to go home.”

She said it quietly but so clearly and in such an adult-like manner that it shocked me.

“I want to go home,” she repeated softly.

She wasn’t making a demand. She was just stating fact.

She wasn’t whining or crying. She was just… sad.

“I want to go home.”

This was the first time Mazzy has ever shared her feelings with me in a non-tantrum-like manner. It almost made me start crying myself. I understood. If I were her, I wouldn’t want to go to bed in that tiny crib in a strange dark cabin-like room with none of my stuff either.

And the worst part was that I knew the following day, we weren’t planning on showing her how exciting a family vacation can be. We were planning on ditching her to go skiing ourselves.

I couldn’t go through with it.

“I know you don’t want to go to sleep here. But tomorrow you’re gonna wake up and we’re gonna be in a big house with all your cousins. Then we are going to have a big breakfast and then you are going to put on your snowsuit and your hat and your gloves and we’re gonna go outside and build a snowman and make snow angels!”

She rested her weary head on my shoulder as she silently considered this.

“That sounds like fun.”

That’s her new phrase and it makes me melt every time.

“Yes, we’re gonna have lots of fun, babe.”

With that I told Mazzy I loved her, said goodnight, and lay her down to go to sleep.

Then I went downstairs and shared my new plan with my husband.

“I’m not going skiing tomorrow. I’m spending the day with Mazzy. I’ll go skiing the next day.”

He understood too.

Life is different with a two-year-old. She’s not just along for the ride anymore. And honestly, it’s more important to me that she has fun on this trip than I do. We’ve got lots of family vacations ahead of us and I’m very much aware that her excitement and participation is still very much up for grabs.

But I also have to say, in a small way— the fact that she misses home, makes me feel pretty good about the “home” we’ve given her, too.

Read more of Ilana’s writing at Mommy Shorts.
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