When we get there, we’ll be there

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On Saturday morning, before the sun has even thought about peeking up over the horizon, we will carefully lift two sleeping littles from their beds. We will nestle them into carseats with blankets and lovies and we will pray that they stay in sweet, peaceful dreamland. We will settle ourselves into the front seat, with thermoses of coffee, quietly communicating with barely a whisper, in that way of car rides with sleeping children. It becomes easier the more you do it. We’ve done it a lot. But we’re rusty.

We will drive until the darkness lifts. We will drive as the sun rises. And then we will drive some more.

And we will keep holding our breath for fear of waking the baby.

And if he wakes or if he never falls back to sleep or if he screams for more than half the journey, or if she whines or complains or repeatedly wonders aloud if we’re there yet, I will just keep repeating, “When we get there, we’ll be there.”

pretty summer sky

There. On vacation. At the beach with a set of grandparents and two aunts and two uncles who can’t wait to play in the pool and build sand castles and eat ice cream.

We’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I am terrible at that token parent move of not telling the kids about a vacation or where we’re going until we’re nearly there. Our girl has known about this trip since we booked it months ago. We’ve gone over the agenda dozens of times. Playing in the pool, kites and sandcastles on the beach. She has asked me several times if I will hold her in the ocean. Of course, my love. Always. We agree that daddy will hold the baby.

last year's trip - little girl perched on big belly.

last year’s trip – little girl perched on big belly.

Last week, friends and I talked of how vacationing with kids is not really vacation as we used to define it. It’s more a change in location. Parenting is still parenting no matter where you are. Babies don’t sleep in because we’re on vacation. Kids don’t don wings and a halo just because this time is special. The same rules apply.

Even when you are trying to make magic, you still have to follow the rules.

But I’m trying to remember that there are memories to be made at the coast. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve aunts and uncles and cousins piled into the same house near the sand. My children need those stories too.

And I’m working myself into a yes-mode. Yes, you can have ice cream every night. Yes you can go swimming at 7am. Yes you can stay in the pool for just a bit longer. Some moments are just made for more yes.

We have lots to do and even more to pack and miles and miles to go. But when we get there, we’ll be there.

How do you prepare for a vacation with children?

5 Comments

  1. I’m with you – I tell her the second we plan something. And then of course it can be days or weeks or months of questions. I like that, though. I like her questions and I like my answers. She’s a very go with the flow kid. She’s not rigid – it’s interesting because I feel more tightly wound than she will probably ever be and I already was at her age. I’d fear things. She doesn’t. We’re doing Cape Cod at the end of the month and I can’t wait for that sleeping children in carseats shuffle. It’s a lovely dance.
    Tamara recently posted..How To Photograph Children And Moose, But Not Together!My Profile

  2. My kids are bigger, so there is no holding in the ocean – although Elise stays even with me or behind as we venture into the sea together.

    My kids are bigger, so they know of the plans. They pack ahead of time. They’re disappointed if plans change, just like I am. And when I see them pairing up or venturing on their own or finding the solitude of a good book on a cloudy afternoon, I can only hope they’ll want to create memories with their kids one day, too.

    Yes. More yes.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Guest Post from Tamara: How To Photograph Children And Moose, But Not TogetherMy Profile

  3. Yes mode is the best thing about vacation. I’ve been in that mode all summer with the kids even though we haven’t gone away. It’s been “yes, you can stay up late,” and “yes, you can have ice cream before lunch,” and “yes, we can stay at the pool another hour.”

    Vacations with kids are a change in location but it’s a good change. A change of scenery and a chance to get out of routine and rediscover each other. Have a great time. And say yes as much as you can!
    Ilene recently posted..I Heart RobertMy Profile

  4. We’re on vacation too! We did just the thing you’re talking about this morning. Twelve hours in the minivan today. 12! But, it was amazing. Right before we all fell asleep tonight Mitchell and I thanked the kids for an awesome day. Because, I mean, with four littles you never know. Such troopers my gang. I was actually going to write about it over on my blog….soon. Right there with you 🙂
    sarah reinhart recently posted..The Reinharts in the DellMy Profile

  5. Even though vacation is just a change of location when your kids are younger, as they get older they remember the tradition and it DOES become *more* of a vacation. They love the planning, they love the anticipation, they love getting up early to leave, and they love that we get in the “say yes more often mode”. Enjoy your vacation!
    Leah Davidson recently posted..Quote of the WeekMy Profile

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