One of the things that I quickly learned when I became a parent is that the word "vacation" will never really apply to me again. Well, at least not for a very long time. I'm not complaining. Much. One of the things that G and I loved to do pre-kids was to travel. We liked to spend months planning our grand adventures. We both have the need to go somewhere we've never been before and do something that we can talk about for years afterward. Sailing through the Bay of Biscay, anyone? How about hiking through native land in Costa Rica?
Even with all the adventure we packed into our vacations, there was still plenty of time for relaxing. We spent hours relaxing over tapas and cervecas in Madrid and a whole day lounging on a deserted beach in Costa Rica. Those days are gone. Our vacations now are not only quite domestic by comparison, but they don't include a lot of relaxation. Its hard to lay on a beach when you're chasing a toddler, after all.
I would be lying to say that I don't miss the relaxation, but vacationing with kids is rewarding in other ways. We're heading off to a little lake in Maine for the second year with the girls. Much of my husband's family will be there and the girls get to enjoy boating and swimming and running around with their aunts and cousins and grandma. Its not an exotic vacation that has all of our friends talking like our Tall Ships sailing adventure, but its something that we look forward to just as much. I love that the girls have a spot to go where they can build memories and summer traditions.
My family used to go camping at the same spot every year and I loved that week or two when my Dad had off work and my mom would make bacon and eggs over a camp stove. We had a campfire every night and we swam in the lake every day. My sister even takes her son there every year continuing the tradition for another generation.
I'm sure my parents were hoping for a little relaxation on those vacations, too. And I'm sure they didn't get it, but I hope they know that thirty years later, I still remember those camping trips fondly and I'm doing my best to give my girls those same kind of memories. And I wouldn't trade a week of laying on the beach for the opportunity to watch the girls' eyes sparkle when they try a new adventure of their own.