When I was a kid we took two trips, both to visit uncles. Being severely limited in finances and somewhat restricted to what types of activities we could engage in due to my mother's rheumatoid arthritis, I just took it for granted that vacation was something that was a huge luxury that only rich people could experience. I still think that vacation is a huge luxury, but I have discovered that it is one that I can not only afford, but it is something that I need to make room in my time and budget for, because the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Here is my apologetic for vacations.
Headspace: I need to get away to a place that is different from my house. I love my home. I love the look, feel, and smell of my house. I love my shower and my bed and my cats and my kids' stuffed animals and the garden, and my computer and Facebook page, my kitchen and my refrigerator. This house is where I live and work. I do not leave it for much of anything except to go to the box to exercise. Eventually, I need to stop working, stop cleaning, stop fixing things and just think about something else. I need perspective. I need to not be responsible for everything. I need to do nothing and have that be okay.
More Yeses, Fewer Nos: Mom, can I have ice cream? Yes. Mom, can I bury you in the sand? Yes, or at least my feet. Mom, will you come fly this kite with me? Yes. Dad, can we catch crabs? Yes. Mom, can I go potty in the ocean? Yes. (Please do, so I don't have to walk back to the house with you.) Mom, can I jump off of this high lifeguard chair? Yes. Mom, will you wear this mustache? Yes. Mom, can I stay up late? Yes. Mom, can we watch movies all afternoon? Yes. Mom, can we ride the go-carts? Yes. Mom, will you bring our lunch down to the beach? Yes. Mom, can I roll down this very steep hill? Yes. Dad, can we overload the back of the truck and ride without seat belts? Yes. Yes you can. You get the idea. On vacation, almost nothing is a no, or at least it shouldn't be. I think that kids need time to be as free as possible without the grown-up contingent hovering over them, making sure they have done their chores, cleaned up their dishes, finished their school work, followed the rules. They need this as much as we need the break from hovering! At the beach, if they really don't care about the sand in the bed they are sleeping in, then they don't have to take a bath. If they don't care, why should I? I need to see them laughing, playing, enjoying their friends, being carefree. I need to see my husband relaxing and spending time doing nothing, sleeping if he wants, having a drink if he wants, playing with the kids and making them laugh...being goofy. Everyday stresses tend to suck that kind of living out of a person, and vacation brings it back.
Life and Beauty: I need to spend time in a place that specializes in beauty and teems with non-human life. So does my family. We need to see different colors, smell different air, touch different creatures. We need to dig ourselves into the earth and pull out the shells, the crabs, the fish. We need to see the dolphins frolicking in the morning, visit the wild horses grazing on the dunes, and feed the seagulls stale chips. We need to see the stars without all the light pollution and feel the majesty of the massive sky over the vast ocean and remember that we are small. We need "different." It changes us, reminds us that we are more than just people--we are part of a far greater plan that reaches far beyond what our imaginations can grasp. This is healthy.
|Claws! Those pinch hard. Ask my husband if they draw blood!|
|Where is the girl with the stale chips?|
|Wild horses of Corolla|
Time with friends: On these vacations we have spent incredible weeks with friends who are like-minded in so many ways. This past vacation we shared the common ground of a love for Christ, homeschooling, healthy eating, and a need and desire to relax completely. We played hard, shared the daily tasks of cooking and childcare so that everyone got a break from the daily grind, laughed a ton, and waited with eager anticipation to see who would be the lucky dork who fell backwards in the tricky chair that lives in that house. We were not disappointed. The kids got along so well, free of conflict and strife, and all were sad to leave each other at the end of the week. Vacation truly would not be the same without these special families with whom we have grown so much over the years.
|Levi, "ahead" of everyone else.|
|getting smacked by waves|
|Look out! Pirate on the beach!|
|Game time after breakfast|
|Enjoying time with my Nikon|
|Enjoying the ride|
|Enjoying the waves|
|Safe with Dad|
|Do we have to leave?|
Until next year...