Thursday, June 11, 2009

Florida, So Far

Hello from sunny Florida!!!

And, to begin, I'd like to publicly admit that I have the I.Q. of a banana when it comes to applying sunscreen. How in the world do people live here and not have a permanent sunburn???? You'd think I'd have learned by now, considering I come here every year for vacation. But, every year, I leave one part of my body without sunscreen (accidentally, of course) and I end up sore and red and running up to CVS for some aloe vera gel. So, this year, I forgot my shoulders and back yesterday. But, on a positive note, I evened out my sunscreen today by forgetting my face and legs. Now I look like a tomato rather than a candy cane. NICE.

I began the vacation on Tuesday wondering if I had made a horrible mistake, bringing my 4 rambunctious children to my parents' fragile furniture and breakable tchotchke collection winter home. The entire first day was spent with me yelling, "Quit running!" "Don't touch that!" "JUST TRY TO BE CALM!!!" Uh, I think I should have taken my own advice.

Yesterday, most of the day, I spent being very upset. I was stressed and questioning why I had been so stubborn to believe that I could take all my kids on a vacation by myself with no help. But finally, after much prayer and self-reflection, I asked myself, "Why DID I do this anyway?" The answer was so clear: to give my children a once-in-a-childhood experience and to create happy memories that our family can share forever. I thought about it... was I doing that? What had gone so terribly wrong that I was constantly telling my kids to be quiet and sit still? And when did I quit smiling?

So, today I decided to smile more. Tell more jokes. Relax. When the boys are coming to me, saying, "Linus called me stupid." or "Charlie Brown said I'm not his friend." I just take it all in stride. We went to the beach today and had a BLAST. I decided to rent a wave-runner and I took each of the kids for a ride. We had an awesome time and I hope it is a memory they will have forever. We built sand castles and collected shells and swam in the ocean for the first time ever. When all the kids voted that the ocean was horrible and the sea water made their skin itch, I told them that sometimes new experiences are good and sometimes they are not so fun. It's okay to not like the beach, but now you really know what it's like. I think they appreciate that I'm not forcing them to love everything we are doing. Well, that's for today; I'll probably complain tomorrow about how they don't appreciate the humidity or the sun or whatever....

I'll keep ya posted.


Jennifer said...

It sounds like y'all are having a good time. Family vacations are so hard on the parents because you want the kids to have a good time, but you want them to behave and then you factor in that you are doing it by yourself. Sheesh. I couldn't do it. I have a hard time just staying in the house with my two.

Cut yourself some slack. Relax. And enjoy.

Bridgett said...

Oh, that self-reflection bit. It's so important--I think it's the difference between good parents and great parents, frankly. The ability to step aside and say "wait a minute, why am i doing this anyway?"

And all by yourself? Oy.

Aleta said...

Ohhh, we do stay permanently burned (speaking for New Orleanians - ever heard of REDNECKS hehe).

Glad you were able to relax and start to enjoy.

Jen said...

I am so glad that you are making the best of it. Here's hoping that you have a great rest of your vacation.

Wendy said...

And now (I can't believe this) I'm going to quote my mother-in-law:

Tired children are well-behaved children.

She had a crazed kid (ADHD if there ever was such a thing) and her #1 goal every single day was to make him too tired to drive her crazy. Doctor's visit? No, not till we've been to the park and run him ragged. Library? First we have to run laps around the yard until he is too tired to run anymore.

After spending one Easter trying fruitlessly to keep my daughter out of an aunt's glass bunny collection, I started keeping some garage-sale-bought "no touch" tchotchkes around and training my kids to keep hands off things. Once I found my son trying to ride a figurine like a horse (sigh) - but it was well worth it. They quit touching things and starting assuming all things were off limits until told otherwise when we went to visit relatives.