Wednesday, March 13, 2013
For the last few years I’ve taken my three daughters to the beach for spring break. Packing to go took several days: sunscreen, swimsuits, pajamas, toothbrushes and clothes for all three kids.
It wasn’t necessarily a vacation to go to the beach — for me anyway.
When I’m at home with my kids I can relax. I can tell by the noise level where they are in the house. If they are playing outside, I can position myself at four different windows inside and watch them in the yard while simultaneously folding clothes, cooking dinner or working from my laptop. I can relax when we are on our own turf.
If it becomes dangerously quiet, I know where to check first: the pantry, my make-up drawer, the drawer where I keep the scissors “hidden.” (Hidden from everyone but Sadie who used them this week to make her shaggy hair a little shaggier.)
As much as I love the beach and a chance to visit my family who lives on the Gulf Coast, this year the idea of driving six hours one way exhausted me.
As did the idea of sleeping in a bed that is not my own, cooking in a kitchen that is not my own and leaving my husband at home to work while the girls and I spent the week at the beach. I guess it’s a sign that I’m growing up, or getting old — however you want to look at it.
But, over the last year I’ve discovered that I need a routine as much as my kids do. I don’t particularly like being away from home, my husband or my bed.
And while my kids enjoy the beach and are pretty good little travelers, after a few days away from home their behavior starts to deteriorate.
The girls were planning on going to the beach like we always do, and I worried about cancelling our trip. They were so eager to stay home I almost felt like I had done them a favor by cancelling.
“Momma, can we sleep as late as we want?” Emma, my 6-year-old asked.
“Can we have our friends over and go to the park?” Aubrey, my 8-year-old wanted to know.
“Can we make cupcakes and eat dem all?” Sadie, my 4-year-old asked.
“Done and done.”
We’ve spent the last few days doing exactly that. After what has felt like three solid months of rain, we spent an entire afternoon at our local park, soaking in the sunshine and playing with friends.
It’s been so long since we’ve seen the sun that I totally forgot that it can, like, burn you and stuff. Emma was a little pink that evening.
We put on our pajamas early but went to bed late, scrubbed clean, settled in our own sheets and pleasantly fatigued from our day in the sun.
We’re making our way through the girls spring break wish list: playdates, parks, sleepovers and cupcakes.
And I for one, am extremely thankful that at the end of our “vacation” that I won’t have to drive six hours to get into my own bed or require a week of bed rest to recover from wrangling my kids on unfamiliar territory.
(Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.)
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