I woke up this morning and rolled over to find my 14-month-old son sleeping soundly next to me. He’s been such a great sleeper these past couple of months that it’s weird to have him next to us again in the bed. I look at the clock and see that it’s almost 9am. “Have we really slept that late?” I think to myself. I don’t hear any noises coming from the other room so the girls must still be sleeping.
It’s day three of our vacation in Florida. The kids have stayed up way past their bedtime each night that we’ve been here. They’ve skipped naps, stayed in bathing suits all day long, and we’ve pretty much thrown any schedule or routine out of the window.
This is so unlike me.
I’ve always been of the belief that you should maintain your regular schedule with kids while on vacation, arguing that it helps everything go smoother when you do. We’ve vacationed a lot with the kids and in the past I have always tried to make sure that they were in bed on time, ate dinner at the same time we would at home, and maintained their naps. They are used to a routine, so it was only natural for me to continue with what we are all comfortable with. But no matter how smoothly the trip went, I’d always return home needing a vacation from my vacation.
The word “vacation” takes on an entirely new meaning when you add kids to it. You have triple the amount of stuff to pack and bring with you, you can’t necessarily do all the things that you want to do, and simply put it’s generally not relaxing.
But this trip is a bit different.
I never intended to throw all of my “rules” out the window, but it’s just something that has happened organically. And to be honest, this has been one of the most fun and relaxing vacations we’ve had in a long time. My carefree attitude has rubbed off on our entire family, which has kept the meltdowns and complaints to a minimum and allowed us to make some of our best memories together.
The kids haven’t once asked to watch television or play on the iPad. Our day isn’t jam packed with activities, but instead filled with downtime. And when given the choice, they’d much rather spend that lull during the day playing outside than inside attached to a screen. I’ve spent my evenings sitting on the back porch watching them run around together filled with complete happiness. This is the way vacations are supposed to be. We’re getting the much-needed quality time together that is nearly impossible at home.
As I’ve spent each night in bed, reflecting on the day, I can’t help but think of how peaceful we all are. I want to bottle these feelings and this sense of calm and take it home with us to use in our day-to-day life. Perhaps it’s because I’m not worried about being on a routine or making sure that all the chores are finished or getting everyone out of the door on time for school in the morning.
But even when we return to all of that, I hope I can manage to take this feeling of zen home with us. A souvenir, if you will. One that won’t get stuck in a drawer somewhere two weeks from now. One that’s priceless.More On