Travel With Kids :: It’s A Trip, Not A Vacation
We just got back from a week away with our kiddos, celebrating the end of summer and welcoming the start of a new school year. It was a good old-fashioned family road trip. We drove to Galveston for a few days at the beach, then to the Dallas suburbs to visit some of our favorites who moved from NOLA to TX last year. In all we spent 20+ hours in the car over the span of 7 days. In between the car rides, we played in the ocean and the sand, we swam in the pool, we watched epic Nerf battles, we visited the Crayola Experience, we ate out, we ate in (and cleaned up after), and I refereed about one thousand sibling arguments. When I got back to work, one of my coworkers asked how my vacation was. I laughed. Because this experience – with all its excitement and joy and energy – was a trip. It was not a vacation.
I’m not sure about you, but my idea of a vacation is something like this: sun, sand, the sound of waves, maybe a book; it is eating food I don’t prepare and uninterrupted sleep. It is not all of the things I described in the previous paragraph. I am, in fact, more tired upon my return than when we left. While on this trip, I coordinated three meals a day (plus snacks!). I grocery shopped and cleaned up messes. I planned activities and moderated arguments. I did four loads of laundry on this trip!
But also – I watched my girl design and build an entire sand kingdom. I boogie boarded and enjoyed the waves with my whole fam. I played “Saints’ catch” (same as just throwing a football in ankle deep ocean water) with my boys. I watched my middle perfect his diving skills and my youngest grow in his confidence of swimming. I snuggled my friends’ newest little love. I got to clean up their kitchen after our families made a delicious mess.
So, while I miss the quiet solace of a vacation, and at times I long for the peaceful days and silent nights of an adults-only resort, I’m not sure I’d trade the sleep I’m skipping for the memories made in the midst of the chaos of my family trip. Sure, the thought of eating culinarily impressive meals sometimes creates an ache in my stomach. But, the sounds of their laughter in the ocean, the songs from our family beach playlist in my head, and the pictures in my mind from our sweet time together drown out any of the thoughts of what I’m missing.
And while this trip certainly was NOT a vacation, it was a trip I’ll cherish forever.