Oh Vacation, we used to have a good thing going. Remember? Me and you. Relaxing together in the sun. Things have just changed between us in the last 5 years. What happened, you ask me with a sad face? Kids happened. And like any good marriage, it totally changed our relationship. I still love you, but I don't always like you.
Let me outline the ways we have grown apart, my sweet vacation.
Then: The biggest bag I could find, usually more appropriate for a 3 month trip across the sea, filled with anything and everything I could ever need for one week at the beach.
Now: The smallest bag that will fit the bare necessities. Car space is a serious commodity, and I also have to fit three other people's bags in the car. And pretty much everything needed to keep them alive and not crying for a week. Which is a lot. Somehow this year I forgot flip flops. For my beach trip. Disgraceful. It was probably because I was so worried about remembering everything else in the world we could ever need.
Then: Me whizzing down the highway, singing along to my six disc changer and stopping for quick food, drink, and bathroom breaks as needed.
Now: Hubs and I sitting in the front seat, trying to enjoy some grownup radio and intelligent conversation. The big child in the back singing/talking/playing DVDs loudly/making annoying mouth sounds. The little child in the back either sleeping soundly or screaming. I do get to practice car yoga, where I twist and turn to either feed a bottle, reinsert a paci, get snacks, or reach the unreachable. Good news, workout for the week is done.
Then: Lying about, tanning and reading a book. Floating in the pool. Looking at magazines. Chatting with friends.
Now: Attempting to keep an overzealous 4 year old who thinks she is an Olympic swimmer from drowning while I entertain a 6 month old in his float. Also, when depth permits, I must watch 7369 handstands and throw various dive toys for retrieval. I am able to indulge in sporadic conversations with my sister in law about parenting challenges, what we like to cook for dinner, and how much it costs to color the gray out of one's hair. Also, there are sporadic conversations with my husband reminding him to please not let the girl child drown.
Then: Me on a chair getting a tan and enjoying the calm and peaceful sounds of the waves.
Now: It's a toss up. Half the time is spent hovering near sleeping baby under the tent, watching all the kids play and wishing I hadn't forgotten my kindle. The other half is spent sitting in a tidal pool with a tankini bottom full of sand and one hand on the baby so he doesn't go face first into the lukewarm fish pee water.
Then: A late dinner enjoying pricey seafood, wine, beer, and dessert. Buzzed conversation and heady laughter.
Now: An early dinner with one child who screams when the food isn't hitting his face at mock speed and another who circles the table like a vulture with a handful of french fries. Then we eat as fast as possible and leave apologizing for the massive amounts of food, broken crayons, and silverware on the floor. There is wine and beer, but it doesn't dull the pain.
The Beach Bag
Then: A cute small bag filled with two books (just in case I finish the first one), a few magazines, a bottle of spf 8 tanning oil and a bottle of 15 tanning lotion, a pack of cigarettes, a coozie, and a towel (don't judge, it was a long time ago).
Now: A huge bag with 17 different types of sun screen, including sticks, lotions, and sprays ranging in spf from 15 to 70, various beach toys, towels for all, a blanket, snacks, waters, the Ergo, swim diapers, regular diapers, an extra onesie, and wipes. Did I mention we also tote a boogie board, chairs, a tent, and extra large sand shovels? We really need a horse and buggy to get the two blocks. Not to mention the 22 pound baby someone has to carry.
Oh vacation, I know someday we will rekindle our passionate affair. Probably in 12-18 years when the children are only on vacation with us because we provide food and a bed. Until then, we will have to agree to disagree. I will keep visiting you, but it won't be the same and I will be crying toward the end. See you next year, when we try (and fail) again to bring the passion back. Thanks for not giving up on me.