The Magic of Vacation
I owe you an apology. Yes, YOU.
I began writing this post while I was furiously preparing for my vacation, fully intending to publish it BEFORE I left my home in Virginia. Unfortunately, I managed to mis-judge my time and effort (not an altogether unusual occurrence). So, I need to apologize to you for not meeting my self-established schedule of publishing a post every week. But I must admit, although you, my readers, are very important to me, my annual family vacation won out.
A bit odd, one might think for me to plan a vacation while getting my business off the ground. Well, you see, it’s my favorite time of year. It’s my chance to get my three grown children, their significant others, my husband, and my 3 grandchildren together all under one roof for a WHOLE WEEK. And, it’s not in MY house (which means I don’t have to clean up after they leave).
Every year, since my kids left home, I have rented a house somewhere that generally all of us could drive to, in a nice location, where we can either sight-see or just veg; explore nature or eat ourselves silly; sleep all day or hike; go fishing or kayaking, or stay on dry land. There are only three requisites: no TV, every night we play a family game, and one day everyone agrees to pose so I can take a family photo. After all, if I lug my camera gear all that way, they have to indulge me for half an hour, right?
Thus far, we haven’t missed a year. Somehow my adult kids have always managed to arrange their work schedules so we can be together. I do believe they treasure the time as much as I do. We hang out, catch up on each other’s lives, share stories of funny things that have happened since our last time all together (Christmas week—that’s another tradition, but I digress), and do communal crossword puzzles. We cook together and eat together. We watch the grand kids (boys aged 9, 7, and almost 3), try to keep them away from their screens, teach them to play chess, learn counted cross stitch, or do a Sudoku.
Last year we were on the rocky shore of southeastern Maine (shown in the above photo). It was desolate, we were all exhausted from our respective jobs, and we almost never left the property, which had 250 feet of private water front. This year we stayed at a rescue farm for horses, goats and chickens, in southern Pennsylvania, which was not quite as desolate, but in some ways even more so. It had a full-size indoor pool, and once again we almost never left the property. I made no plans for what we would do on which days. In fact, I made no plans at all, except for deciding to bring some pre-cooked proteins, so dinners would be a little easier and a bit less expensive.
This process of finding a communal spot for our vacation allows me to be creative in choosing different places each year, curious about the areas that we may travel to, and courageous in trusting that I haven’t chosen something horrible (in fact, there have been a few that were less than stellar, but you know what? We have managed to have fun, anyway).
So, I always look forward to this one week in the summer, when I get to be Mom, and Grandma, as well as Alice, when I am surrounded by the ones I love more than anything. I want it to be perfect. Although I understand it cannot be technically perfect, in my mind it is always perfect. It renews my spirit. It brings me joy and peace. It makes me feel complete. I generally have many photos to help us all remember this week (and hopefully usable for future blog posts). I have our family photo that will help us to chronicle the years as they pass, and that I can use for the Christmas cards I make but never manage to send. I have wonderful memories to cherish until we can all be together under one roof again.
What things do you cherish? Do you have any family rituals that are special to you? Is your ideal vacation one that is filled with activities, or lazy and relaxing? I would love to hear what works for you and your loved ones when you have some time to get away from the routine and enjoy something you can’t do during your every day life.
Thanks for reading! I value your time and presence. Please come find me on Twitter at @CoachingADA, or on LinkedIn. Or send me an email at Alice@adackerman.com