If the past couple of years have taught me anything, it’s the importance of being flexible. So even though I’d been very much looking forward to a Florida getaway with my family, I kept telling myself that there was always a possibility that the trip wouldn’t actually happen. I told myself this even as I arranged for our house/dog sitter, packed my bags, arrived at at the airport and all the way up to the moment when our plane actually took off. It was only once we were safely in the air that I finally drew a sigh of relief and allowed myself to believe that this much-anticipated vacation was truly beginning.
It’s not that there was anything particularly special about our trip. We weren’t heading to an exotic destination, or checking something big off our “bucket list” or even treating ourselves to something new and different. We were just renting a vacation home for a week and our only plan was to relax and spend time with our family. I know it may sound boring to some people, but at this point in my life, it struck me as the perfect vacation plan and I was more than ready for it.
And things went mostly according to plan. As we settled into our house, I soon realized that relaxation is a rare commodity when you’re vacationing with a three-year old and a one-year old. (I’d count myself lucky if I could muster up just one-tenth of their energy and stamina.) But that was just fine, because I also realized that although sharing a house with active little people may not be relaxing, it sure is fun and entertaining, especially if they happen to be your grandchildren. There’s something pretty special about stumbling out of bed in the morning and being greeted with big smiles, hugs, and an enthusiastic, “Yea! Grandma’s up!” I mean, my husband and I love each other dearly, but mostly we just grunt at each other first thing in the morning.
Sharing a house with our kids and their families for the week also gave us a chance to reconnect in ways that just don’t happen in our normal, day-to-day life. Late night conversations around the hot tub when the little ones were safely tucked in bed, working on a jigsaw puzzle together, or even just sharing a meal as a family were gifts to be savored. Even sitting back and watching others interact was special, because I knew those interactions were strengthening family bonds that should last long after my husband and I are gone.
Now it’s over, and I’m slowly adjusting back to a life that is both more solitary and hectic than the one I enjoyed while on vacation. I’m actually a bit more tired than before I went, but that’s normal because travel is wearing and so is catching up on all the chores that waited patiently for my return. The weariness will pass but the memories of our time together aren’t going anywhere, and wouldn’t trade those for anything in the world…..