Once a parent becomes a parent, vacations are no longer vacations. So you have to decide. Is this really something you want to take on.
You go back and forth with your partner on the merits of this idea being a good or terrible one.
Then you decide.
The choice has been made.
You hold your breath.
Press the “purchase tickets” button.
And immediately question the decision.
But the deed is done. You now have a few months to manage the anxiety of how the fuck to travel with a set of one-year-old twins and a toddler.
Then the week before, it sets in. The logistics are overwhelming. How many babies? Strollers? Car seats? Who is watching the dog? The cat? High chairs? What do we do with our car? How many bags? Toys? What do you need for the plane? How do you get to the plane? What do you do once you’re on the plane? Off the plane? Cribs for everyone? What books do you pack?
None for me. As we said, a vacation is no longer a vacation.
But we made the commitment to visit family in the south. The deal was sealed. So off we go.
What we know now is the right number of adults (for traveling with three under three) is four.
Four high-functioning adults makes it just manageable.
For anyone who has done it with fewer, you are my heroes.
The thing you forget, or are less aware of, in the day-to-day grind is that (for many of us) other people are entertaining our children all day. Sure, we see them in the morning. Get them dressed and ready for the day. Pick them up at the end. And manage the nighttime routine. But in between, someone else is reading, feeding, playing with them.
And to those people… I salute you.
We had one full week in Florida in a two-room Airbnb with virtually no plans. This could have gone one of two ways.
The twins are down to one nap daily. And the almost three-year-old is fully refusing any nap while in vacation mode.
This makes for a very, very long seven days.
All that said, the trip could not have been more perfect. Everyone was (basically) on their best behavior. Everyone (basically) slept at night. And, in fact an extra hour plus in the morning. The Rosler kids apparently love vacation. There was pool. There was beach. There was family. And friends. But Nathan and I were ON every. single. second. of. every. single. day.
There were two opportunities for “me” time. There were two days of glorious moments that were all mine. And I’ll be hard-pressed to forget them anytime soon.
One day we went to the beach. A trip to the beach is not what it once was, certainly. After lugging the baby chairs. And the umbrella. And the towels. And the toys. And the shovels. And the buckets. And the beach chairs. And slathering up babies with SPF. And hats. And anti-UV bathing suits. And water bottles. Snacks. And diapers. And swim diapers and….yeah. And so-much-crap. Now what? Ok. We’re settled. Towels laid out. Babies on them. Shoes kicked off. What now? Go for a walk?Build a sand castle? Oh, it’s high tide? Right now? Cool. Move everything back five feet. Good? Set? Now? Nope. Not far enough. Pick it all up and do it again. Ok. Time to relax? One sippy cup ends up on the sand. One baby just took a fistful to the mouth. Excellent start.
Finally everyone is good. I check my surroundings. All babies accounted for. I do not make a peep, take a breath. I slowly walk towards the water. My childhood. My respite. My calm. The beach should be my home. It’s where I am in my element. I was pulled towards my beacon and did not look back. My toes touched the perfectly crystal blue, aqua waves and then I dove in fully. I flipped over and floated. I was buoyant. And free. Body light as a feather. Floating in a little slice of heaven on earth. My ears right beneath the idyllic ocean water’s surface. Every time a wave swept through, the sound of sand and shells rolling with them sung in my ears. If shimmering made a sound, this would have been it. This moment was perfection. I have not had a moment like this, likely since our honeymoon four years ago. And yes, it was a moment. I was beckoned back not long after I took in the sky, and the clouds, and the salt water. I followed the waves back to shore. They carried me, effortlessly. I took a deep breath and returned to my other element: my beautiful family, awaiting me on the other side. But that in-between moment brought me life. Sometimes it really is just the little things.
The next day (in between visitors, and feedings, and cleaning, and bathing, and shopping, and playing) I was granted close to an hour of alone time, which may as well have been an eternity. The babies napped. H took a car ride with N and I had the pool to myself. I floated. I took in the fresh air. The sun. The Florida heat. And for that hour nothing mattered. There were no worries. No anxiety. No tantrums. No bills. No questions. I took a break from it all and let the water carry me.
This came to an end.
As all things must.
But those moments will stay with me for a long time. They rejuvenated me. Restored me. I love my family. And my new career. And the hustle and bustle of it all. But the calm. And the quiet. And the weather. And the “vacation.” And the family time. And the down time. And the break from reality. It was reinvigorating.
Taking the time is so important. Most of us likely don’t do it enough. But this little vacation home in Florida, off the beaten path, was so perfect. We are so busy running, usually, from this place and that. We don’t take the time to appreciate the in-between. I’m so grateful I was given this opportunity. It made me realize I need to focus more on what happens in-between: the things that happen in the midst of us handling life.
It also made me realize how insanely amazing it is to have a washer and dryer in your home.
I single-handedly destroyed the environment last week.
Please, this one time.
If you’re interested in reading more about my crazy life – please follow me @bexhasbabies or to learn about how I support women through their motherhood journey, @itsconceivablebyrebekahrosler.