Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Vacation That Wasn't

This is the third time the kids and I have joined my parents for a Florida beach vacation. I was really looking forward to it. It's been a cold and snowy winter, and I was ready for warmth and sun.

I also look forward to this trip for an entirely different reason: it's the one time I can vacation with my children and still feel like I'm on vacation. Did you ever see The Onion article "Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties in Closer Proximity to Ocean?" If not, take a moment to click through and read it. Story of my life.

Of course, the only reason a trip with my parents feels like vacation is because my mother is the mother assuming all the household duties in this scenario. She does most of the shopping, all of the cooking, and most of the cleaning, in addition to spending time with the kids. I get to be the kid, at least a little bit (except for the cocktail my dad prepares for me at 5:00). It's a cushy situation, and my parents are kind to indulge me so in my forties.

Things didn't exactly work out the way I'd planned this time. I have worn my bathing suit once in the eight days I've been in Florida. For the most part, the weather has been disappointing. Much worse, however, was that both kids were sick--sick enough I pulled two all-nighters, had one to the local clinic, and had to extend our stay an extra day to ensure everyone was well enough to get home. It was a bad time for all.

Now that they are both well, I can resume my normal duties. Rather than resuming them after a week of relief as planned, I am resuming them after a week of mom overdrive. Nothing makes me more anxious, busy, and sleep-deprived than sick little guys, and we had plenty of that this week. Call it the anti-vacation.

If there is any silver lining to this black cloud, it's that it caused me to be less indulged. In addition to caring for the kids, I chipped in more than I usually do. (Or at least I think I did.) I still didn't cook much, but I cleaned up, washed dishes, and did plenty of laundry. I was too busy being a mother to be mothered.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the fatigue of caring for the kids rather than sitting on my duff all week has deluded me into thinking I was more helpful to my parents. Maybe I was busy, but not busy doing that.

If so, I'm sure they'll cut me some slack. They know I wasn't sunning on the beach while they did all the work. If I'm lucky, maybe they'll make it up to me when we visit them this summer? This spoiled rotten only child certainly can hope.

In the meantime, all five of us are ready for the vacation-that-wasn't to come to a close. We tried. We failed. Sometimes you just get dealt a shitty hand. Home tomorrow, back to school on Tuesday. Back to reality. After the vacation we had, a little bit of reality sounds mighty good.

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If you want the sanitized version of our vacation (and I recommend it), check out my Instagram photos in the sidebar of this blog post or on Instagram at user name flotsamofthemind. Despite the setbacks, I still managed a bit of photography.


  1. I understand exactly what you are saying! My mom is coming to visit in just over a week. It always amazes me how she takes over ALL the duties without complaint. I try to help but I think it is her way of still "mothering" her 35 year old daughter :)

  2. So sorry you had a bad vacation :( Thinking of you