As promised, a counterpoint post to my little fit about family vacations (see it here), I offer Part 2 (where I revel in the freedom of unstructured time with my family and have a come-to-Jesus on the mountainside).
What I most appreciate about family “vacation”:
1. The break from routine. Like the waking up at 5:30am and all the driving and coralling and cajoling and cooking and trying to get it all done. These are the things I do, not who I am. Vacation reminds me of this.
2. No Homework. This is related to #1, but the difference no homework makes in my life is so serious it needs its very own line. I would also make it #3, #4, and #5, but I think you get the point. Homework is not my friend. Friends don’t ruin every weekday evening.
3. Time to play Uno and watch Spongebob with my boys. Am I complete boob? But I really do like Spongebob. He’s such a fool and the show is just so crazy and creative. Love it. That and the sounds of my sons cackling together at all that is dumb and funny. Music, as they say.
4. Having my husband with us. Oh, the luxury of his company! I do like that guy. Feels like I hardly see him. And having him with us allows me brief respite from feeling like a single parent for 95% of the day. (Not complaining about his hard workin’, folks, just the facts, just the facts). And I do realize that his contribution adds up to way more than 5%. But I’m writing this equation, so that there’s the math according to me.
5. Sleep. Once the little guy was over his fever, there was some good sleep. Nine hours really suits me. I am closest to the version of myself I would like to be after nine hours of sleep. Note to self.
6. Getting to see new places, try new things. Maybe I need to look at my life and how it is currently set up (and I think I do), but it doesn’t leave much room for straying from the formula or being spontaneous. Every week can start to feel like a worn version of the one before. This vacation we went skiing in Colorado. Some days I skied, some days I didn’t (hung out with concussion boy). I actually enjoyed the two-hour car ride from the Denver Airport to the Ski Resort. I saw prairie dogs, buffalo, and big horned sheep by the side of the road. Also, abandoned mining towns that looked like everyone had packed up and skipped town one day and left everything just as it was, frozen in time. Did I mention wide open sky? My eyes need new food like this.
7. Getting some space to see myself, my children, my life more clearly. I believe we call this perspective. Turns out I quite like my children. They are lovely little people. Yes, when we’re all together in a hotel room or rented condo things can get pretty intense. Wow, they can bicker about anything. And like all children, sometimes they’re just plain annoying. But they’re my annoying children. And there’s not many other people on this earth that I’d rather be with. It’s hard to see that when they start to feel like a job to me, objects to be moved from point a to point b. Sad, but true.
Another example of #7:
My husband set up some ski lessons for me because I guess he was thinking that maybe if I were a better skier, I might enjoy it more. This is a good time to mention, we’re not one of those skiing families. We have skied. But we’re not that family with the coordinated gear who has the routine down. I don’t wake up in the morning stoked to hit the slopes. More like a little dread mixed with resignation. I don’t like lugging the equipment. I don’t like the cold. But we’re trying to figure out what kind of family we are. We’re trying out different things.
So I’m out there in the beautiful mountains of Colorado with my fifty-seven-year-old instructor David, and he’s pointing out to me where I need to be leaning forward instead of back, how I’m working way harder than I need to be, and as I feel my body make the subtle adjustments, I see myself in my life. Yes, I do always seem to be fighting the mountain, don’t I? Huh. That is so what I do. I make things harder than they need to be. The maneuvering can be easy and relaxed, just. . . like. . . this. . .
David explains and demonstrates for me, It’s counterintuitive, see, but you are supposed to lean over your skis, into gravity, not away from it. Bracing yourself against it only makes you slide down the mountain, see? You don’t need to be exerting yourself quite so much. . . see . . nice. . . and. . . easy. . . . When you’re doing it right, it feels like you’re doing nothing at all.
Like swimming, I say.
Yes, just like swimming, he agrees.
I followed in his wide rounded S trails down the powdery hill, moving with gravity instead of against it, for the moment, remembering that thing that a part of me knows but spends my days forgetting: How something can be doing and resting, in equal parts, at the same time.
And it was good.