the one about vacations

I didn't write about anything worth anything the entire month of February.

Let me tell you a little about my mind.

Like my house, like my vehicle, like my desk, like my email…it gets cluttered sometimes all the time. When I have too much going on, too many thoughts in my head, I picture my brain as a malfunctioning robot…lots of flashing lights and smoke and repetitive phrases like "Cannot compute. Cannot process. Cannot compute. Cannot process." And some beeping. Lots of beeping.

When this happens, I shut down. Well, I shut down as much as my life allows me to actually shut down. I can't completely shut down or else my family will starve and my children will most likely wear the same outfit for days on end and my husband will actually succeed in wearing royal blue pants with an orange shirt to work. Yes, he has royal blue pants…and he wears them as much as he possibly can.

So, my version of shutting down is dealing strictly with what I absolutely have to for as long as I feel necessary. I feed my family. I clean what I must. I get to what I can. But the extra stuff is pushed aside until I can manage it all again.

It sounds like I need a vacation, right? Well the ironic thing is that one of my biggest stressors the entire month of February was our impending adults-only vacation to Mexico.

I know…feel sorry for me. 

But really.

When parents decide to take a no-kids vacation, the clouds part, angels sing, and grown adults prance around happily like merry unicorns. Oh, just me?

But then…it hits you. The absolute insane amount of preparation involved when leaving your children with other people.

I began making my "To Do" lists weeks prior to our trip.

The shopping list… for groceries, diapers & wipes, and a few small toys for the girls to look forward to while we were gone. Plus all the essentials for us…like flip flops and SPF 450.

The cleaning list…which basically said, "Clean everything," because my family would be staying in our home watching our children.

The "Oh shit, I'm still breastfeeding" list…included trying to find time to pump once or twice per day to start stockpiling milk, researching breast milk and pump guidelines for airlines, and guesstimating how many absorbent breast pads I would need to bring with me for the trip (answer? a gazillion).

Lining up childcare, preparing freezer meals ahead of time for dinners, compiling flight and contact information…all had to be done.

We even thought we would be cute and record videos of us reading 5 different bedtime stories for the girls to watch in case they missed us at night.

And then of course I was certain we were going to die on this trip and orphan our children, so we also bought more life insurance and I made a poor man's will which was basically a note left open on my computer desktop for anyone to see that read something like this…

If we die, these people, ________________, will take care of our kids. All of our possessions are up for grabs. Have fun with that.

See? All the work.

Once the preparations were complete and we were on our way, the irrational thoughts began (because being certain of our death wasn't irrational at all).

Like… What if they drown the pool we don't have?

And… Sometimes not at all we have trouble with bears trying to break in and steal food.

I had even more irrational thoughts that I am too embarrassed to list, if you can imagine.

The irony is that the more children you have, the more you really need to enjoy a child-free vacation every now and then. For your sanity. And your marriage. But then, the child-free vacation is so much work and worry that it's almost more exhausting to prepare for the vacation than it is to just keep trudging through the trenches of parenthood.

Face. Palm.

So I tortured myself with the planning and prep work. I tortured myself with the worry and anxiety. And as it turned out, on the second day of the vacation, we found out that Shiloh had RSV and was pretty sick.

Crap. I thought of a bear attack, but not RSV.

My all-inclusive resort buzz was officially killed with that news, and at that point I was just ready to get home. I was ready to be needed and pulled, pooped, and puked on. All the things I couldn't wait to get a break from were calling me back and I couldn't get there soon enough.

Kids. Sigh.

So does my mind feel clearer? Maybe a little. Mostly not really.

Was it fun while it lasted? Yes.

Have I even fully unpacked our suitcases? No.

But I'm thinking of leaving them that way so it's one less thing I have to do for the next vacation.

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