I am too.
Once upon a time, Chad and I used to spend lazy summer weekends at his family cabin in the Sierra’s. We would pack up the car, drive a pleasant few hours, and plant ourselves in hammocks. I’d bring a stack of library books, eagerly anticipating lounging in the late morning quiet by the small river, devouring each book one by one. We’d live off chips, beer and s’mores. We’d take casual hikes through the giant majestic trees surrounding us. And we’d be completely cut off from communication with the outside world. No tv. No wifi. No cell service. Just one old rotary telephone in case of a dire emergency.
As I sit here today, I find myself wondering how the HELL that paradise became the four day trip that has me so anxious I want to cry/vomit/run away. Why is it that all I can think of now is how fast the river is running this year, how bad the mosquitoes are, will any of the kids get carsick on the windy road, how there have been rattlesnake sightings on site. Rattlesnakes. And all. That. Prep.
The lists in my head are ridiculous. The food, the toys, the clothes, the repellent, the sunscreen, the medicines just in case because there’s NOWHERE to buy anything, the diapers, the wipes, the snacks (very different from “food” of course), the car activities, the STUFF. Endless, endless stuff!
But of course, I know why. Kids. They turned the vacation into a trip. On vacation you lounge and eat what you want, when you want, where you want – preferably at a restaurant or somewhere you don’t have to clean up afterward. On a trip, you’re still cooking for everyone. And doing dishes. And hunting down a thousand water cups for tiny hands that have misplaced theirs. Because apparently kids can’t live off chips, beer and marshmallows alone – though to be fair I haven’t tried…..
On a vacation, you go on a hike, taking breaks where you want and you sit and take in the beautiful views. You can walk at your pace because there’s nothing (no one) slowing you down and nothing (no one) to chase. You bring a book because you might find a perfect spot to spend the afternoon. On a trip you have one kid strapped to you and two more running in opposite directions. You have to bring a thousand snacks because they can’t go five minutes without food. One of the walkers decides halfway that they’re going to die and throw themselves on the ground saying they’ll never walk again.
On a vacation you bring that thick 600 page book that you’ve been waiting to crack into, because you know you can dedicate all the time to getting hooked on it. You spend the rest of the day falling further into the fantasy world before you. On a trip? Bring a magazine. Maybe. Or something that hooks you right away and is only about 150 pages. Nothing with confusing characters or plots or you’ll spend most of the time re-reading pages you already read because you were interrupted by cries of, “Moooooooommmmmm! I neeeeeeeed youuuuuuuu!”
And did I mention THERE’S NO WIFI???
So maybe for me it will be a trip. But I can still keep it a vacation for my kids. Read them all the books. Let them hike and get dirty and find bugs and explore. Make them eat real food, but also go nuts on the s’mores. Help them make memories so they’ll one day talk about the awesome vacations they went on.
And then, after I’ve sufficiently worn them out, tuck them into bed, grab my book, go out on the porch, grab a beer and sneak a few minutes of vacation before morning.