Our oldest was not quite a year old when we took our first official "family vacation." I was still getting the hang of new motherhood so the idea of getting out of town sounded PERFECT.
A few days before leaving, we were visiting my mom and dad. Both listened with wide-eyed enthusiasm as I told them about our impending plans. After saying, "I can't wait! We need this vacation.
More than that, we need the rest and relaxation." They looked at each other then back at me and dad said, "You takin' the kid with you?"
"No, we got a new automatic feeder and our neighbors will be checking on him twice a day. Of course we're taking him with us! It won't be a family vacation without him."
"You can call it whatever you want, Beck. But if you're takin' a baby, you ain't going on a relaxing vacation."
Turns out they were at least partly correct. "Relaxing family vacation" can be an oxymoron. Who really wants to spend 14 hours in a car listening to children fight, complain about being hungry, and asking, "are we there yet" every 100 feet?
My boys will do anything to keep themselves entertained. Even if that means humming "Let it Go" just long enough to make your brother hit you.
We've tried it all to make that week long sabbatical a success.
We've done the "friend tagging along so no one gets bored."
We've done the "group vacation with other families." Again as a way to keep the kids from getting bored.
We've done the stay-cation, which turned out to be more tiring (and probably more expensive than a 12 hour road trip to Disney.)
We've even done the vacation with members of our immediate family... because we hadn't suffered enough.
And they were all fun just not what we anticipated.
This year would be different. We were going to make memories as a family, even if it killed me!
No friends, no other families, no distractions; except for the gas passing contest between the boys. And that's exactly what we did.
Don't get me wrong, there were complaints.
"That mustard is touching my hot dog! I want a new one!"
"Mom, Jacob is rolling his eyes at me!!!!"
And sunburns. And bad words. And especially overpriced food and activities.
But in the middle of all of that, we calmed down just enough to laugh at dad falling off the paddle board because he was trying to scare the youngest. And make fun of mom because she wouldn't go snorkeling after watching "Blackfish" the night before.
The boys built a sandcastle without fighting. We watched a late night movie all piled in the same bed and went fishing off the pier. But the best part... getting a glimpse at the budding friendship between two brothers.
The moral? Nothing is perfect but there's no better way to create memories (and test ones restraint) than taking a vacation with teenagers.
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