Vacation is interesting.
Summer vacation is great. I’m so incredibly sad that it’s coming to an end. I’m not one of those who longs for the start of school. I’m not sure why I’m not. But, I know I love having the kids around. I’d so much rather endure I’m bored-om than the schedules and driving that school brings. Maybe it’s the laid back. Maybe it’s the freedom. I know it’s not real life … but I like it.
But get-out-of-town vacation is great, too. We don’t do it often at our house, but I think we should more than we do. Because the one we just returned from was so so wonderful and it gave us a bit of a re-boot. Which is something we all need. And re-boot doesn’t have to be super fancy. For us, it was regular. It was productive. It was refreshing. And, it was a reminder.
Regular: Our week was proof positive that tons o’fun can be had in a cross-country trek to hang with cousins. In fact, fun can even occur on long car-rides – depending on your attitude. Which is Lesson #1: A positive attitude goes a LONG way … especially in cramped spaces.
Is your glass half-full or half-empty? Half-full makes regular special. In fact, half-full brings into focus just how special regular actually is. Regular almost always exceeds expectations. There’s no mark to hit, no height to soar above. No… regular, well, it’s just that. We could have been in a funk over our non-fancy trip – especially when compared to some of our friends. But, who knew the over-flowing tank filling we would get on a regular, no-frill vacation?! I’m pretty sure it goes back to that all-important aspect of life – people. And since our vacation was spent with people we love – it was good.
As I sat watching the kids play one afternoon, I actually relished in the beauty of regular. It didn’t matter that our back drop was their back-yard, not mountains, not the beach, not a sight to see. We were in Georgia, not the Serengeti. When the what-did-you-do-this-summer polling begins on Day 1 at school, extravagance won’t pass the lips of my kids, but amazing memories will fill their minds and pour forth from their mouths. Memories of regular.
Productive: Not only did we have endless regular-life fun, we accomplished a few things. Apparently, a vacation can be productive. Who knew?! And being productive together hit home a very important life-element. Lesson #2: Never walk life alone. Two (or more) actually is better than one. Walking the road together lightens a load – even (maybe especially) when the load is called college-decision/acceptance stress.
Making the trek with cousins/friends transformed potential stress into laughter-filled, collective eye-rolling (as one of their moms encouraged a full campus walking tour) fun.
Refreshing: Lesson # 3: Breaks are needed and necessary. We need them to regroup and to breath. I watched each of my children sink into their break from life and I saw every one of their tanks being filled. Mine & Jon’s too.
And, not only is it important to take a break, it is important to Lesson # 4: Give others a break. Cut people some slack.
My brother has seven kids. We have five. As you can imagine, with that many people, we had ample opportunity for everyone to give each other a break – to look the other way … when tempers momentarily flared, or when games were unfair, or when
the smallest cousin couldn’t get over his fear to pull a tooth.
After cutting the kid some slack, we could all celebrate with him when he finally pulled the darn thing
– at the aquarium.
We all had to get over ourselves, look beyond and give each other a break – especially as it related to …
bad breath (Rivi’s was the least of it!)
… and other smells that begged the rolling down of car windows without placing blame. Everyone had to let someone sit in the front seat even though “they sat there last time!”, to share, to “be it”, and to welcome the Texans toting their cokes and goldfish into your locally-grown organic home. Lots of looking the other way paved the path for our week of wonderful. All of which equated to acceptance.
Reminder: Our Georgia vacation offered a reminder – one that hits me every time we visit other places. Lesson #5: Be happy where you are, with what you have. The grass isn’t always greener – even though it looks to be.
Driving home, I was kind of sad. Thinking about all the trees, the cool weather, the people the beauty. (Let’s just say the drive to Georgia is a tiny bit prettier than the drive home … rolling hills and trees aren’t words used to describe Dallas.) I thought about the house next door to my brother that is for sale. I imagined us living there, playing all day, every day in the in the wooded areas – enjoying the best neighbors ever. I imagined going to school with cousins at the dreamy little spot they attend. I saw myself hanging with all the nice folks I met, maybe having a horse like so many of the Alpharetta residents.
Then I thought about how I do that wherever I travel. Seriously, I do. (What’s wrong with me?!) I did it earlier this year almost every time I traveled to speak. In South Carolina. In Louisville. In New York. In Augusta. I do it when we travel as a family … I imagine us in one of the beautiful homes on the beach in Florida or in the mountains in Colorado
I stopped myself.
Because the next morning as I sat on my couch after our long car ride home, I had a sweet reminder from my computer. Watching my wi-fi wave up and down, searching for a spot to land, I smiled as it did. Without so much as a nod from me, it connected – it found its spot… because it was home.
Inasmuch as I might be tempted to look around – even on vacation or, as we often do, on social media – and see others lives, or places to live, as possibly better than our own … I was hit with the reality that home is good. Our house, our friends, our life. Walking into the Tom Thumb and saying hi to Kiera this morning, waving at Walter our mail-man who asked me how our trip was, replying to my one of my best friend’s text:
I smiled. “Home.”
Appreciating what we have over wishing-it-to-be goes a very long way in the quest to contentment. And contentment, in the strangest of ways, brings with it freedom. A vacation for our thoughts.
So here’s a huge shout-out and THANK YOU to my our family in Alpharetta (and their wonderful friends.) We love you guys. And, by the way … we’re coming back next year!!
Thanks for walking the road with us.