Monday, July 4, 2011

Day Fifty Four: Oh vacation!

We are on vacation with my husband's brother and his family.  We have four kids under five, four adults and one very small dog packed into a large condo on the beach.  It is a fun, joyful occasion that we have been repeating for a few years now.  

But holy cow, I am tired!

A week at the beach with these energetic young kids is exhausting.  Everyone is always going in four different directions.  The two littlest require full-time hands-on attention, especially around water, of which there is plenty here.  And then when the kids are sleeping or otherwise occupied in some reasonably non-harmful way, we adults are hastily planning the next move-- playground?  beach?  pool?  bike rides?-- quick!  Before someone wakes up!

There has hardly been a day since we arrived that everyone in the house isn't passed out before ten.  We're all exhausted.  Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  I have a wonderful extended family and these are four fantastic kids that are shot through with verve, sass, excitement and (surprisingly) really good manners and decent respect for one another.  The Cousins are a fabulous foursome and watching them grow up together is one of the great pleasures of my life.

I occasionally miss the old kind of vacation, the kind where you take a pile of paperbacks and some garbage magazines and sit on the beach for hours, coming in for a tomato sandwich, noon beer and nap on the couch.  I used to stay up late to watch movies and get up long after the sun had begun to really bake the beach.  Like so many other things in life with kids, I remember fondly the days when my time was exclusively mine, when naps and late nights were by choice, not necessity.  The transition was hardest in the first year.  I got very frustrated when my vacations felt "hijacked" by the little squalling, demanding bundle that was my first child.

It is different now.  I'm tired, sure (I'm the only one still awake by a full hour!), but now that I have fully wrapped my mind around what the "new normal" is per vacation time, I'm getting more comfortable with the fact that I can rest when I'm dead and that these stinky, sandy, loud little rugrats are worth every ounce of time and attention we give them.  I still get frustrated, tired, and aggravated and I still long for my book on the beach, but more often I enjoy getting sand in my bathing suit from all of the rolling about and castle building I do.  I love introducing the kids to snow cones and fireworks and boiled peanuts.  I'm working on reminding myself again and again that this time is really short and really, really valuable.

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