We just returned from a so-called family vacation. When I went to work Monday morning, I heard comments like “Welcome back. You must be so well rested.” and “It must have been so hard coming back to work today.” These were obviously not people with three kids under 4. When you have young kids, there is nothing relaxing about a vacation. For the kids its a vacation. For the parents, a vacation is actually a lot of WORK!
Our trip (I won’t use the word ‘vacation’ anymore) was to Sandbridge, a quiet beach area just south of Virginia Beach. We rented a house for the week. The house was actually quite nice, with plenty of room for all 5 of us and our minivan stuffed with gear, toys, clothes, snacks, books, DVDs, and everything else we could squeeze in.
The thing about a trip like this is that it still has many elements of a real vacation, the kind of vacation that existed pre-kids. Except those moments are very short lived, or they are combined with the new post-kids vacation experience.
The very first morning I didn’t mind waking up before dawn to feed Thing 3. After all, I got to watch the sunrise over the ocean from the deck. What a great start to a vaca–, I mean trip. That post card moment was short lived, as Thing 1 and Thing 2 woke soon after, and immediately went into their let’s-take-every-toy-out-and-fight-over-them routine. Not to worry, we’re across the street from the beach, so let’s get dressed and head out.
Walking a few hundred yards to the beach seemed like a simple proposition. Then we started to figure out all the stuff we needed to bring. Drinks, snacks, cooler, toys, diapers, extra diapers, formula, bottles, chairs, umbrella, towels, bouncy seat. Luckily, we had a beach cart and double jogger stroller to help. All I had to do was wheel everything out. Or so I thought…
Sandbridge had just completed a multi-million dollar beach replenishment program. What would have been a short walk to the ocean on packed sand, turned out to be a trudge through a few hundred yards of deep, fresh sand. Jogger strollers don’t do well in deep sand. Especially when one of the tires is flat. As you can see in the pictures, getting to the beach each day turned out to be the most grueling workout I’d had in years.
As difficult as it was at times, the trip wasn’t without its good moments. Sitting back on the beach or deck, even for a few minutes, enjoying the breeze and peaceful ocean sounds. A quiet morning bike ride along the ocean was very nice, with Thing 2 in the back seat, other vacationers smiling and waving as we cruised by. Except the last mile and a half, when he decided he didn’t want to wear a helmet anymore, and then the quiet ride became a wake up call for every other house along the ocean as we rode by. Let’s just say the other vacationers were no longer smiling.