The Myth of the “Family” Vacation

First of all… Happy Blessed New Year!

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked in 2017.

With that being said, here is a disclaimer, because while that sentiment sounds nice, we all know it doesn’t work like that. So…

May 2018 bring you anything you lacked according to God’s will, and may you work toward reaching your goals as you pray for God to help you.

We all know God is not a genie and does not simply grant wishes in His infinite wisdom. He listens to each of our earnest requests and makes a decision to either approve, deny or give us an even better alternative to our request.

Hopefully you spent your time leading up to the New Year meaningfully. Mine was spent in service, and no, I don’t mean service to the Lord directly. 

In the wee hours of December 26th, me and my family hit the road and made the 11-hour trip to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend some time with my husband’s dad and his family. We were all excited to get to some better weather–Alabama cold is not like Michigan cold–and see Matt’s extended family. Despite our meticulous preparations, there was one thing we weren’t expecting…

The daggone stomach flu. 

No one invited the stomach flu on our vacation, but it showed up and showed out anyway!!!

Unfortunately it struck the baby first, causing her to throw up multiple times and have several bouts of diarrhea. Matt rushed to the nearest store and bought her a bottle of Pedialyte which seemed to bring immediate relief for the vomiting. Then, that night, Matt puked almost 10 times and in the morning, as I was still trying to take care of him and Jayla, I threw up. 

Being pregnant with a stomach bug is no fun, but you know what was worse? Seeing my children sick with something that I can’t help. As you know, stomach bugs must simply run their course.

And yes, I said children, because out of nowhere in the middle of playing, the very morning we were initially preparing to leave, Layla got sick. It has now been almost 12 hours since her last round of vomiting, so we are hoping with baited breath that this thing has left her body, that our son hasn’t caught it, and that we can head home. In the meantime, my last couple of days of “vacation” have been spent cleaning up puke, washing puke-stained clothing, disinfecting, throwing up myself, fetching ginger ale, and oh yeah… Cleaning up puke.

As far as this particular vacation went, I don’t fault my girls for getting sick. I wished that I could have taken their misery upon myself, although in my pregnant state the stomach flu isn’t exactly comfortable. It upset me each time they threw up.

But when I thought about how much work I still had to do on what was supposed to be a mini-vacation, I had to chuckle. Even if the kids are well, there is ALWAYS work for Mama to do even on a vacation. Because for me, a vacation not only means a trip to a destination away from home, it also means a trip away from all of the work I do at home. When I go on a vacation, I don’t expect to do any cooking or cleaning. Like the cruise we went on… The most work I did was ironing my clothes. It was perfection.

We rolled out of bed when we got good and ready and leisurely prepared for our day, no rush at all. When my husband and I were served our meals, we were able to just EAT… No cutting up meat, mopping up spills, or getting up from the table in the middle of the meal to take a little one to the bathroom. At night, we took showers as long as we wanted with no interruption and lay down in a huge bed with no one crawling over our heads or asking to turn the channel from our movie of choice to SpongeBob.

It was truly a vacation.

And you know what?

I missed those little monsters every step of the way.

Family vacations are still work, indeed. But while I was on my true vacation I couldn’t help but imagine how my kids’ eyes would have lit up as they looked out from the cruise ship into the sea, especially at night when no land could be seen, nothing but stars.

As for this particular trip, aside from the illness, it was good to see my kids playing with their little cousins, uncles and grandfather. So at the end of the day, as usual, no matter how tedious… Mama’s work was worth it.

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