Just 24 hours post a one-week vacation with my kids, I am faced with the task of writing something witty and entertaining for all of you — our readers.
As I stare blankly at my keyboard and monitor with my mind set on completing said task, all I can think of is the comedy/illusion of ‘vacation.’
Barring any further explanation, I know some of you are automatically nodding your head in agreement. You ‘feel my pain,’ so to speak, but for those who think I am completely off my rocker — perhaps I should elaborate.
To help illustrate my point I will use this recent holiday (more commonly referred to as vacation) as my example.
In early July my mom (who is retired) posed the idea of taking a ‘road trip’ with the kids to visit family in the Pacific Northwest … Washington State to be more precise. After pondering the thought for a few hours and discussing with my peers at work, I was in. It would be fun to take the kids to a place I once vacationed as a child.
So with a week between decision day and departure, I went into ‘prep mode.’
On the home front there was wardrobe to prep and luggage to retrieve, as we would be traveling to a part of the country with a much different summer climate. Then of course the thought/fear of keeping the children entertained in the car for 14 hours or two days of travel. In the past we have used our portable auto DVD players, which have since become broken.
My daughter is not easily entertained by movies and my son has really taken to his Nintendo DS, so travel plans were made sans said DVD entertainment. It was a gamble, even a risk, but one worth taking. Ultimately it paid in aces as my two kids took in the sights of amazing scenery between California and Washington. A trip we lovingly titled our COW Tour 2011 (California, Oregon, Washington).
The tour title gave my seven-year-old a vested interest in the road signs, watching eagerly for each state line. As he eagerly read the signs sharing points of interest with the rest of us we assigned him the job title of ‘Navigator.’ My four-year-old was dubbed ‘Potty Monitor,’ since her bladder held the least. When she had to ‘go’ we all went (just in case). My mom served as the ‘Waitress,’ serving up drinks and snacks as we each deemed them necessary. All and all we were a full service operation, holding our own with the finest of airlines.
But before all this could happen there was much to be accomplished. Securing a house/pet sitter, cleaning for said ‘sitter,’ paying bills through our holiday time, laundry, etc. Then of course there is work and preparing my desk to sit empty for a week. Crash courses in how to do my job, were quickly placed at the top of my ‘To Do’ list as colleagues stepped up to help so that I could sneak away for a little R&R.
That week prior to leaving I literally ‘chased my tail’ so much that by week’s end I found myself bailing on a 10K run I was looking forward to. Reason: I realized that morning that I actually needed a minute to breathe and rest before loading up the car and taking on the two-day trip.
Giving up that morning run with a dear friend was a tough decision, but the sacrifice helped me regain much of who I lost, while swept up in vaca-frenzy.
Come departure day, as I loaded the car as we prepared to take off I had a little talk with my four-year-old.
“We are going on vacation to Washington today,” I stated. “We’re going to visit a lot of family and have a lot of fun. Most importantly, for the next seven sleeps mommy does not have to go to work. I get to be with you and brother every day.”
As I finished this sentence, my four-year-old’s eyes grew bigger. “You mean every day you will be with us mommy … No work?”
“No work,” I confirmed.
“Oh, I love this vacation,” she said as we prepared to leave.
Several days later, while sitting on the deck of my cousin’s beautiful waterfront home, my cousin asked, “So have you been able to get some rest and relaxation, while you have been here Teresa?”
As I thought about it I realized it was never about the R&R.
“Not a minute,” I answered honestly. “But I’m okay with that. I just wanted to spend some quality one on one time with my kids and I have done that. I’ll rest at home, when they are sleeping.”
So now, as I ‘chase my tail,’ playing catch up before month end (which is just 24 hours away), I wonder — was it worth it?
The answer of course is yes. In the end, the pending days of craziness will never overshadow the seven days of memories and bonding I had with not only my children, but also their Memaw and our family we sadly left in the Pacific Northwest.
The best Fall I ever spent, was a summer in Seattle.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.