There is no greater surprise in the world than the realization in adulthood that vacations are SUPER STRESSFUL. At least when you have a family. I’ve taken a few short vacations on my own and THEY ARE PERFECTLY LOVELY. They are the picture-book image of what vacations should be: Equal parts fun and relaxing.
FAMILY VACATIONS ARE NOT QUITE LIKE THAT.
Now. It’s still worth it, obviously. I love a good vacation. Harry Potter World was amazing last year and I still sometimes sink into a tiny depression over missing it. This year? Denver and Breckenridge to visit my brother and his family. And I am SOOOOO looking forward to it. BUT OH MY GOD, SO MANY THINGS TO STRESS OUT ABOUT.
First? The weather.
Let me just say that when I wake up here in Alabama? We are already at the “HIGH” for the day. So there are no winter clothes anywhere within reach in our house. But those lows in the 40s mean we need to be packed for “chilly” and “warm”. And I say “we” because I’ll back for the two little kids. Then there’s the activities we’ll be taking part of outside – so we’ll need to be prepared for all of the above. AND THIS STRESSES ME OUT.
Then there’s the prep for leaving the house. I don’t want to leave anything behind to be wasted because WE DO NOT WASTE FOOD IN THIS HOUSE. So I have to plan meals accordingly. Oh – look – we have a bunch of mushrooms leftover from stir-fry night. GOING IN THE LUNCH BOXES! Hmmm…not going to finish the juice…WHO NEEDS CREAMER FOR COFFEE WHEN WE HAVE JUICE!
And the house MUST be mostly clean. For two reasons. 1) Because I don’t want to come home to a mess to clean up. and 2) Because I don’t want the people who are helping with our house and pets to think we’re more disgusting than I admit we are. I never profess to keep an immaculate house, so it’s not at that level, but the beds are made and the counters are clean.
The stress of packing doesn’t have only to do with clothing, but also other things we might need. Chargers, technology, screens, books, art, things to do on the plane, things to do in the car, snacks, and cosmetics. Now, we will grocery shop so we can get a lot of stuff there, but we need to prep for the drive to Nashville, the flight to Denver, and the drive to Breckenridge all before we do a grocery stop.
And then I’m super-worried about my kid’s behavior. We’re visiting family we only see ever 2’ish years. WE MUST MAKE A GOOD IMPRESSION. And oh my GOD, that’s a hard thing when you’re living with someone for a whole week. Wesley is certain to tell me he hates me at some point in time and THAT STRESSES ME OUT. Of course my family is realistic and know we’re not perfect, and they love us either way, BUT STILL. Please tell me I’m not the only person who completely stressed out about my kid’s behavior when visiting family. I think it’s because I still have memories of family discussing the ill-behaved kids at family gatherings and I don’t want that to be my kid!
(Also – I feel like going back in time and defending the parents of those ill-behaved kids. I’d get in a time machine and say, “GIVE THEM A BREAK. THEY ARE DOING THEIR BEST.”)
So, all of this has me not sleeping. And that’s okay because I know once we get there? It will be heavenly. Because even though I’ll be stressed about whether we packed the right things, and if my kids are behaving, I’ll still be on vacation and I can’t stress about the million of things at home that I stress about every day. Nope. Those things won’t be there. So, no matter what, I’m going to feel rejuvenated in the mountains of Colorado.
Bring it on!