Forced Family Fun

We kept it low-key this year for my side of the family vacation. We stayed at a lake house on Eagle Mountain Lake near Ft. Worth and had so much fun: zoos, pontoon boat rides, N’s first movie theater experience to see Inside Out, lots of swim time and boat races, good food, good wine, good laughs.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a few shit show moments, particularly when I used my child as a human shield to avoid a water gun (she loved it). Or when we viciously fought over Monopoly (the game for nice people) and strangely didn’t over Cards Against Humanity (the game for horrible people). Or when I tried to get my 8-hour boater’s safety course done in time to rent a boat only to realize it’s required for people born after 1991. Or when I forced my entire family to jump into a more brown-than-blue lake as I bellowed, “You will have fun whether you like it or not!” (everyone survived). Or when my husband wanted to drive the boat and realized he didn’t know how to reverse mere seconds before docking. Poo in pants. And it wasn’t my daughter’s.

My brother had a hard time relinquishing control. So he stood and directed. You know, just in case.

I love every bit of family vacations. I love planning them, the anticipation. I love seeing our sweet siblings, their spouses, and kiddos. It is a big reason we eventually want another child. I love the laughter and the long-ago childhood memories that feel as if they happened just yesterday, being grateful for the rare time together, appreciating our quirks and differences and loving them anyway. Aaaaaaand I love it when its over. Because vacationing with a toddler is effing exhausting!

In my youthful days, my idea of vacationing involved rest and relaxation. Throw in a massage, a Bloody Mary with breakfast, and some snorkeling, and it didn’t get much better than that. My idea of vacation does NOT involve waking up at 4-5AM every morning to a toddler who decides that vacation is the. perfect. time. to try out sleeping in a big girl bed for the first time (#soproud). It does not involve constantly worrying about little ones sneaking out of the house and diving into a pool. And it certainly does not involve poop in swimsuits. At least it wasn’t in my hand this time?

I know it will be like this for many deliciously exhausted years. And I wouldn’t change a thing. Because some day soon, we’ll have a moody teenager that probably won’t think we’re fun to hang out with. Some day soon, we’ll have a college kid who’s perhaps too busy for us. Some day soon, we’ll only hear dinging texts and chirping tweets from my daughter’s general direction. Some day soon, I’ll wish for those early mornings with copious amounts of coffee (instead of bloodies), watching my mother dance with my daughter to Frozen. Yet again.

Seriously. “For the first time in forever” is on repeat in my head right now. I can’t get it out.

Some day soon, they won’t need a boost.

My brother showing our kids what a “zebra bootie” looks like.

Some day soon, they won’t hold each others hands in my sweet sister-in-law’s arms.

And yes, that’s a paci. But vacation sometimes trumps the house rules.

Some day soon, she won’t need her dad’s help anymore.

This was right after I used her as my water gun shield. He loves playing “Good Cop.”

Some day soon, things like work or old knees or bad backs might prevent us from seeing each other.

If you squint, you can see the lake from our “lake house.”

So here’s to appreciating family and all it’s little quirks, adventures, and messes. And cheers to cherishing every exhausted moment.


(The Royal Tenenbaums’ source.)