Something really weird happened to me today.
My kids and I are on vacation. I know, shocker. Everyone else takes a vacation and there are photos and stories and Instagrams and Snapchats and canceled plans – “sorry, going to be in Cabo that week!”
I take a vacation and everyone acts like I’ve gone on a two week cocaine bender and spent the electric bill money on a balloon of heroin.
My kids wanted one thing for Christmas: a trip somewhere. Anywhere. We so infrequently leave the area, and having just about everything under the sun they could ever imagine or want, it’s what they naturally asked for. I had a trip planned that was drivable, in our Christmas budget, and would involve stuff they enjoy (shopping, tennis, waterpark, etc.).
Then as Christmas neared, it all sort of fell apart.
First, my dad had surgery on his hip and it was taking much longer to recover than planned. That meant he would need someone to stay home with him.
My husband was SWAMPED at work, I mean swamped; so a vacation was not exactly ideal for him either.
But the kids and I were still all about it; packing and getting those little travel sized bottles of our toiletries…we were just about ready and the day was swiftly nearing for us to leave, then my oldest daughter hurt her knee and rendered herself un-vacation-able.
The resort was nice enough to refund me our entire booking, and I quickly sprung into action to salvage Christmas. I filled the bottom of the tree with some basic gifts I knew my kids would appreciate, and started trying to plan a substitute vacation that wouldn’t require so much physical activity on her knee.
I mean…a trip was what they asked for, and had already been promised…
So I said I would take them to El Segundo to shop and stay for a few days before the holidays; that didn’t pan out because Christmas chaos got in the way. Then I thought *well how about Solvang for New Years.* Didn’t happen. My kids started getting that whole *things Mom promises never come true* air about them, though, so you guys can imagine my delight when both of their tennis teams got invited to the section championships…
…in the same exact place our original trip was planned for (only further out enough in weeks for my daughter’s injury to heal).
Easy peasy, right?
So I got back on the horn with our reservations and the plans; I kicked our activities planning and packing back into full swing. I had an entire bag of those travel sized toiletry things now. My dad and husband’s restrictions were still in place, but that wasn’t going to stop us this time.
So on Tuesday, we headed out. And we are here now.
But I’ll be honest with you guys: I’m not really enjoying it.
We slept really late yesterday, and I woke up feeling like shit. Not like I was ill, but like I should have been up doing things.
We are on vacation and all I could think about was doing the laundry and wiping down the counters.
I took the kids to explore the town a little. We came four days ahead of the rest of their team mates, so we have time to kill and there is a lot to do here. Because my kids play tennis and we’ve never been to the BNP Paribas, I took them to the Indian Wells Tennis Garden to have a look around. We headed out to the Living Desert Zoo. Then we ended our day on a local court so they could get in some pre-tournament practice.
I felt awful the whole time. Same thing: others are still up at home working, going to school, doing their chores. And we have the gall to be here enjoying ourselves?
Today – Thursday – has been no different. I woke up feeling unsettled. Like we needed to be doing things. Productive things, not enjoyable things. Not relaxing things.
Definitely not relaxing.
My kids homeschool, so they aren’t missing school or anything; and actually they worked on school all through the public school Christmas break. So while other people we knew were in Hawaii and Cancun and Cabo and Chicago and Bali and Thailand and Big Bear and Aspen, we were at home doing school work and canceling our own plans.
Still, I woke up looking for educational things around the area we could do. Because I just feel like I shouldn’t be taking breaks, from anything.
Why is that?
Then today it came to me, like an epiphany: I feel like shit because I am still letting others influence my feelings and thoughts.
I still let other people’s comments affect how I live my life.
I still let other people’s negativity impact my knowing that how I’m raising my kids is the right way for us.
In the weeks and days that led up to us leaving this past Tuesday, I found myself explaining over and over again to every person I saw just why, how, and what was the reasoning behind us going to the tournament early.
And to be fair, people often questioned or commented or even demanded answers.
“Oh I wish I could afford to go early” – from someone that spent their Christmas in Mexico.
“Wow, must be nice to not have kids in school so you can do whatever you want” – from someone whose middle schooler skipped the first week of school this year to go to Europe.
I counted a whopping 15 questions and comments as I sat here this morning, from people we have seen or talked to over the last few weeks, that were all along those lines.
This is my perpetual dilemma, and it’s weird and I’m tired of it. No one else feels they have to ask permission or explain themselves for the way they live their lives to me. So why do I?
Today I realized that it’s perhaps just the aftermath of all the years of me putting myself in this defendable position. The tangled mess of those years of opening myself up to the judgment and opinions of others won’t unwind overnight. For whatever reason, I still don’t allow myself to enjoy my life. Which is a shame, because I’m teaching my children to do the same.
I fell down in my quest to enjoy life unjudged and in peace this last week or two, when I apologetically explained and defended to everyone that asked just why we would have the gall to do something so heinous as go on vacation. But, I’m correcting that right now before it’s too late.
Something really weird happened to me today. I caught myself allowing old habits to creep up and ruin this experience. I am allowed to take a vacation. So are my kids. The details of it – where we are going, why we are staying there, how we can do such a thing when other people are at school and work – is just a fact of life.