It is summertime, so you know what that means? The summer vacation stories are coming out of the mouths of neighbors, friends, and moms of your kids’ classmates. There are stories of cruises, beaches and lands far, far away. I listen with a smile on my face to hide my all encompassing envy. This will be year number 3 of no vacation for us. It really should be number 4, but we bit the bullet and took a vacation in 2009 for a family wedding and reunion. I know in the grand scheme of things this is pretty low on the pity list. And in the grand scheme of things our life this summer is not bad.
To be totally honest I don’t know if I really want a vacation. Now, I should admit that if someone offered great childcare so that SoHubby and I could go on a fabulous no cares vacation I would be drooling and packed before they could say, “The kids are fine.” That is a long shot. Any vacation right now would involve cranky kids, a husband connected to electronic gadgets and one stressed out mom. Which makes me think that we have been conditioned to WANT a vacation. Who really wants to pack for 5 people, cram everyone into a car for hours, listen to kids fight over who didn’t touch whom and then do it in reverse with the prize being a mountain of laundry. Sure there are good times to be had in between, but is it worth the money, time and aggravation to take this freak show on the road? I say, NO.
My goal for summer, as the kids have gotten older. is to keep them just busy enough as to not want to kill each other. At the point of wanting to shove the kids in their rooms for the rest of their lives, we are off to a schedule activity or the pool. Oh the pool, it has miracle powers. It makes children stop fighting and tired. Some have said our schedule is crazy. I say it is the only thing keeping us sane. We have cabbage ball (it is larger than a softball and hirlarious to watch small children run around like crazed research monkeys who just escaped from the lab), Ta Kwon Do (where small children beat the hell out of each other), gymnastics (the de-energizer) , and library storytime (aka another adult entertains your child while you play on your smartphone). Then there is the glorious pool. I joined the fitness center for the pool. You could easily kill 2/3 hours at the pool and not even blink. The pool is the saving grace of summer. The bonus is that if I can throw myself out of bed early enough in the morning, I can have a couple of hours of childfree time. You would be amazed what an hour on the treadmill watching Will and Grace can do for your mood. It is no Disney cruise, but our schedule full of activities is making summer much less torture chamber bidding time before school starts and more I can’t kill you today, because it is POOL TIME!
I don’t know how the kids feel about any of this. I think Amber is the only one that really remembers us taking regular vacations. Although, Amber and Sam both talk about the family reunion in Tennessee often. Sam is heavily influenced by the commercials. I simply pat him on the head and say maybe someday we will go to Atlantis. Evie has no clue. I think her first real hotel stay was our recent cheer competition in Biloxi, MS. That sets the bar really low for her. It does hurt some to tell the kids that we won’t be doing Disney anytime soon, but look at the stuff I have to distract them with. The one thing I can say with certainty is that their summers are a 100 times better than any of my summers as a kid. So we will stay home and keep with our activity heavy schedule to keep us busy during the summer. If you pass me and wonder what is behind that smile on my face, just know that I am thinking no packing, no mountainous laundry, no long car rides with screaming kids, no cranky off routine kids and I get to sleep in my own bed at night. It isn’t quite the same as a beach front condo on the beach of Destin, but I know for sure I won’t be eaten by a shark.