We are shortly going on a vacation. We’ve been planning it for months if not a full year. We’ve been excited and looking forward to it…. generally. I say “generally” because a vacation hardly comes without the jitters. It’s just normal. It’s the way a vacation is supposed to feel.
I can’t forget the first vacation as a family. We had a four year old with significant sensory problems at that time. We went to the Poconos in December. For anyone who hasn’t been to the Poconos in December, it’s probably not what you should do with a kiddo who is not going to absolutely love the snow when she has it hitting her face and her ears, tiny icicles that pierce through your skin, and can make you extremely nervous about how much worse it can get.
We had a fairly decent vacation. We were there for four days. We did loads of snow tubing. We didn’t get time to ski because Minha was very scared of the snow and how it was constantly blowing everywhere.
Not that Minha hadn’t been on vacations. She had been on loads of vacations with my family and I and had been on many day trips to places with her Dad and I. However she had never been on a four day trip away from the comfort of her home, cramped in a tiny hotel room, without her iPad or her toys. It was too much for her. The fact that we didn’t think this through before taking her shows how sometimes the idea of a vacation can make us forget about being practical.
We didn’t take a family trip for four years after that. The next trip was to Lake Champlain Island, Vermont. We also explored the surrounding area and Burlington. We had a great time. We went to the Cadbury factory and the Teddy Bear Factory. It was amazing. I was about five months pregnant with Raahim and we had deliberately taken a prebaby trip to make up for however long we wouldn’t be able to take one after the baby. We were in a nice bread and breakfast right on the water bay and Minha swam everyday. It was heartening to see her enjoying but even more it was relaxing to be able to enjoy something as a family.
But the baby just brought more trips with him. We went to Chicago when Raahim was just six months old, Canada when he was eight months and then Georgia when he was ten months old. The trips were full of wonderful adventure even though we had a newborn in the mix now.
So what makes a vacation successful? I think not expecting a lot is probably a good thing. But it is natural to expect as there is a lot of preparation and financial investment that goes in. For me, a successful vacation is where my family enjoys. Where we get to see some city stuff and some old town stuff. Where my kids can be kids at the end of the day. Where my sensory kid has no unnecessary demands on her sensory system.
A good vacation to me is about a happy family during the vacation. I plan all my vacations. Try as he might, my husband botches most of our vacation plans by being too adventurous or not daring enough.
A good plan for us is what I build for the vacation. As the manager of this unit I know what they need. Sometimes even my husband doesn’t know what he needs for a good vacation. I make sure he has a good time.