Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Our First Family Vacation

Our first family vacation and we didn't snap any group photos?! We are failures. Oh, well.

We have been on vacation before, sure--but only twice; and there was a holiday involved each time (first our anniversary, second time Christmas). This was our first real family vacation where the only goals were travel and fun. Although our travels did coincide with Mother's Day weekend. That was inconsequential. I have an extreme aversion to Mother's Day that I will have to address in another post.

It was fun. We went to the beach. It's only four hours from our home! Reuben would see the ocean for the first time! (Rebekah too, but at 15 months I don't think she'll remember it) I was excited, my husband was excited, Reuben was excited and Rebekah was excited just because everyone else was. We woke up really early Friday morning and loaded everyone into the car, drove to the coast and went directly to the beach. It was a beautiful; cool and breezy with a partially overcast sky. I hadn't been to the beach since 2011 and was extra stoked to lay on a blanket (I hate swimming) and read a book while my husband managed the kids. Or you know, watch them play in the immense amount of sand while reclining on my $10 rental chair.

It did not go as expected. First, I left all the snacks in the car. The car that we parked really far away. Why did I do this? I have no idea. If you can please go back and slap me with a wet fish for my faux pas. I deserve it.

Second, the rental chairs were not for rent. It wasn't late enough in the year. I had no chair to rest on. And thus no way to get out of the sand!

No sooner had we arrived then both kids began whining for snacks. Luckily we were able to find a banana to split between everyone. Also, I DID remember to bring sunscreen. Go me! But I forgot to apply it until we had already wandered onto the beach. And applying sunscreen when your skin already has sand on it is not pleasant.

Reuben was afraid of the frigid waves and only wanted to climb on the man-made dunes. I kept taking pictures trying to document everything, and I am glad I did but for some reason it was causing me stress.

It was at this point that I realized I hate the beach. I have always hated the beach. That is why I haven't gone since 2011. But CLEARLY time obscured all memory (or having kids and being sleepless in Lynchburg has addled my brain) because I had not recalled this abhorrence to sand, salt-water, tourists and overpriced bottled drinks until just this exact moment while standing toe-deep in the Virginia coast.

Clearly I need help. And a reminder program on my phone.

As the sun beamed cheerily down into my very light sensitive eyes I tried to make the best of it. It's only one day, I told myself. Tomorrow we are going to the VA Beach Aquarium. It's only one day. I can make it. A few more minutes passed and suddenly I was covered in sand and everything I had brought was gritty, my children were whining and I just wanted to go home. My book sat untouched; so consumed was I with answering questions and nursing and tending to Becky. I don't know why I even tried taking a 15 month old to the beach. She kept getting sand in her eyes or taking off her hat or crying because of the wind.

In short, going to the beach was not my favorite part of our vacation although I do think Brian, Reuben and Rebekah enjoyed themselves immensely.

Then we went out for lunch. I hate going out to eat on vacation. I get sick. But I always believe next time will be different. It never is. I need to just buck up and bring my own food on vacation. We went out to eat lunch on the boardwalk and ate out for dinner that night. I asked each time about gluten free food and was assured everything was fine. I don't know which restaurant it was but the next day when I woke up I felt awful. The feeling I know comes from eating something I shouldn't.

It was the severest reaction I have had in two years and it made me barely functional for the rest of the day (and the day after). Just now I am beginning to feel better and those meals were four days ago! I barely remember going to the aquarium or the ride home due to the amount of pain I was in. I had to sit down for most of the aquarium in the lobby and read a book--I couldn't walk around and enjoy myself.

And that day we drove home and hit the worst traffic ever. It took an extra two hours to arrive, and I was just done with life and everything in it by that point. I am glad to be home now and I don't think I will try to vacation again any time soon.

Were there any good moments? Yes. I really loved staying up a little late on our only night in the hotel and playing Timeline. I loved the nap I got in the hotel with Becky when she fell asleep. I loved seeing Reuben's reaction to everything and watching him swim in the hotel pool. I would do it again just for the fun times we had, but I do need to plan ahead next time so I don't get sick. And remind myself not to forget the snacks from the car.

How do your family vacations usually go?