Let's be honest, a vacation with kids is not a vacation. There's very little relaxing, a whole lot of crankiness (usually due to schedule upheaval) and closer than normal quarters, which makes for late bedtimes, but never late wake up times. It's a total shit show and a Broadway show all in one because no matter how chaotic and stressful and non-vacation like it is, you end up with a handful of beautiful memories that you'll keep with you forever (and hope to God your kids will also remember one day).
Our vacay this year was a very well planned (by me, the planner-go figure) road trip to San Diego. I booked us an Airbnb with 2 bedrooms steps from the beach. I bought us tickets to the zoo and Legoland. I didn't plan each day exactly because I know my kids and sometimes they just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and on those days you can't go to the zoo because it would be as torture-some as getting stranded in the lion's den of that zoo. So being on the beach with tickets to other kinds of activities, having a kitchen, laundry, separate bedrooms, and Netflix, I actually thought I might get a few minutes of R and R on this trip. To tell you how high my hopes were, I've even documented the fact that I brought my newest Brene Brown book with me, anticipating I might have a few minutes here and there to read something other than email.
After a 10 hour road trip (that should have been 8) with some serious low points of licking hummus off cucumbers so my kid would eat them and listening to 28 consecutive minutes of 'the letter of the day' song from Sesame Street (covering every single letter of the alphabet), we made it. We couldn't check into our Airbnb for 2 hours, but we quickly got rid of our nervous road trip twitch of traveling with three kids under five by going straight to the beach. The sun was warm, the sand was sandy, and the crowd was, well, really young and hip and made me feel pretty old and momish. Nonetheless, we were on vacation and it was going to be awesome.
Fast forward to 3:30pm and walking into our Airbnb only to see gaping holes in the walls in almost every room with slabs of sheetrock ducktaped on top in a lame attempt to cover them.
What. The. Fuck?!?!
Deep breath, mama. Deep breath.
An hour later we were all back in the car heading to a Marriott nowhere near the beach and for only two nights because every damn hotel was booked up with visitors for Pride Week and Comic Con. I kissed those two bedrooms, that beach home and the idea of any relaxation goodbye and rolled with it. We were still on vacation after all and a very long drive from home, so we were going to make the best of our nomadic San Diego adventure, no matter what.
And you know what?
As I write this on my way home from a week of intensive hard work, virtually no relaxing, very close quarters, too much swearing, not enough alcohol and on top of all of it, a 102 fever for me (yes, that also happened), I wouldn't change a damn thing. I really believe it all happens for a reason. Sometimes it makes perfect sense right away. Other times it takes months to unfold. But a reason, girlfriend, is usually always there.
A few months ago, my world collided with a woman named Tanmeet who preaches about finding the gratitude in everything. She has a sick child and she is thankful everyday for not only him, but for his illness. I often wondered why. Why and how could anyone be thankful for something so terrible? The chaos of this trip made me think about this on a MUCH smaller scale. But you know, if you really think hard (and being the analytical person I am, I think real hard), you can find a way to be grateful for basically anything.
The Airbnb nightmare made me be grateful for smartphones and the ability to see a few different parts of San Diego we may have never seen before, like Little Italy, which by the way is so legit.
The being sick on vacay made me grateful for an excuse to go to bed at 730pm one night and get close to 11 hours of almost uninterrupted sleep (haven't slept that long since, oh probably, 2012).
The memories we made on this trip were beautiful and they may have never happened if it wasn't for slumlord/superhost Antony. So yes, even that motherfucker Antony, I am grateful for (although I do say that kind of sarcastically, I mean it seriously).
I recently read a quote that said, "Parents don't really go on vacation. They just take care of their kids in a different city." And I'll add, "...without all their stuff." Those vacation days were long but the memories we made will be longer. And for that, I'm grateful.