Can you really call it a vacation when you travel with kids? When I consider that word, I imagine myself sitting quietly somewhere in a bucolic setting, reading a book I’ve long intended to read, and clearing my mind of all my troubles in a peaceful respite.
Bringing the child brings along all the same schedules and routines. It just changes the setting.
We just returned from our week long trek by car to South Carolina, and I suppose by most measures, Cecelia behaved relatively well. On the way down, she had only one major meltdown. On the way back, she did worse, but by most standards, I suppose she stayed within the behavioral parameters of any given three-year-old.
While staying at the vacation house, she also enjoyed the company of her cousin Anya, who came with parents Susan and Eric in tow. She definitely had a vacation. At the vacation house, she had easy access to a swimming pool, a playground, a large house with plenty of room to run around, and a day at the beach. For us, we had to take her to the pool, the playground, and the beach, while making sure she (and her cousin) didn’t get into too much mischief and/or break something.
We certainly created many good memories, and I suspect that as the time passes and Cecelia grows into a bored teenager, we’ll eventually look back on this trip with fondness, forgetting the tantrums, the screaming, the sudden bolting, the defiance, and the other minor petulances.
After all, I look back on all my childhood vacations with great reverence, thinking now that my own parents hardly relieved themselves of the the day-to-day stresses. I hope Cecelia will look back on the trip and remember all the things she did do and not those things that we couldn’t let her do.