Posts Tagged ‘ summer vacation ’

Family Summer Vacation Road Trip: Sacramento To Lake Tahoe, CA

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

3 years, 7  months.

Dear Jack,

When it comes to family summer vacations, I have always felt that the photos taken during them truly tell the stories better than I could tell them myself. When I think back on this past week, which memories will serve as the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story?

For me, it was the quality time you and I spent together. Granted, our annual family vacations also serve as the annual family reunions for Mommy’s side of the family.

(She is number 9 of 10 kids, scattered across the country, so getting the majority of the family together takes some special planning and management!)

With that being said, spending time with my own son during our family vacations can be a challenge, because that’s the only time of year when you get to see your many cousins, aunts, aunts, uncles, and grandma.

It’s something I’m very understanding of. So I wait for those opportunities to get some one-on-one time with you.

We loaded up the Toyota Highlander for the 118 mile/2 hour drive from Mommy’s hometown to Sacramento, CA to Lake Tahoe (Squaw Valley), which is near the Nevada border.

By the way, it was the perfect vehicle to take on that road trip: plenty of room for our luggage, as well as a rotating array of relatives who hopped in during the midst of the caravan.
You told me that your favorite part of the Highlander was the windows because you see all the mountains we were driving through.
And that was truly one of the highlights of our vacation: the scenery on the road trip itself.
It’s not everyday that you get to look at the window and see huge rocky mountains and clear blue skies… and not much else. That kind of scenery is very crucial to the psychological aspect of taking a vacation!
As for Lake Tahoe itself, I think you had more fun than anyone- the lake’s sandy coast served as the biggest sandbox you’ve ever seen!
You spent hours burying your plastic dinosaur and Hot Wheels in the sand. It was almost miraculous we were able to locate all your toys by the time we left.
In between “sand avalanches” I helped you locate rocks and sticks to throw into the waves. You declared: “Tomato fight! Potatoes!”
And that’s one of those memories that will serve as one of the forever bookmarks in the history of our family’s story. It really doesn’t take much- just knowing I’ve got some time to hang out with you and be goofy together.
To me, that’s bigger than real life.
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Way Too Excited To Go Back To School, From Vacation

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

Halfway through our vacation last week, you asked me, “I go back to school tomorrow?”

I could tell, you weren’t asking me if you had to go to school the next day- you were asking if you could go to school the next day.

What’s not to love about spending 10 days in northern California with all your cousins, getting to play all day and have your parents turn a blind eye to you drinking juice?

(Sure enough, your eczema reappeared by the 2nd day, which is why we typically don’t let you drink juice.)

I say it all comes down to routine. You’re like me- you thrive in the routine.

Being on vacation is so… open-ended, and even… intimidating to the psyche. The part about not knowing what to expect the day is hard for you (and me) to process.

So I totally get why half-way through our vacation, you asked about going home.

Of course, you totally had a blast the rest of the week, and I still have a story or two to tell about that soon!

But I will say, now that we’re back in Tennessee, you completely appreciate the comfort of the familiar routine.

You were way too excited to hop in the Honda Element for the ride to school yesterday, which was your first time back to school in close to two weeks.

Very joyfully, you kicked your legs along with the bathroom echo rock music of The Shins as we hardly spoke any words on the 45 minute drive to school. You were just so excited to know you were about to enter back into your life of structure. I love it when you are that content and at peace with me, giddy and smiling the whole time.

Even though you showed some unusual hesitation when I dropped you off, I knew you wouldn’t have much trouble readjusting.

I was right.





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Socially Unplugging While On Vacation Isn’t Easy

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

This morning I witnessed you doing something bizarre, something I’ve never seen you do before.

You and I were playing in the backyard when your cousins walked up. Immediately you put your head down and made your way over to a black pipe connected to the wall. 

It’s not that you were pretending to be stuck. Instead, you just covered your face and didn’t say a word.

Even with your cousins trying to engage you, you remained a statue.

I couldn’t quite figure it out.

When you finally moved, you simply repeated the action at the screen door.

It’s not that you were angry, upset, or unhappy in any way.

You just didn’t want to socialize.

Trust me, I can relate! In order to function, I have to have a couple hours a day with no one around; which is why going on vacation with family can be challenging for me too.

So truly, I know what you were going through, now that I think about it.

What else could you do, as a toddler who claims to never be tired, and refuses to rest other than when he is forced to?

How else could you communicate with me that you just needed some time to yourself, without having to go somewhere to take a nap? You didn’t need physical rest.

What you needed was social rest.

You and I have that in common. We’re highly social, highly verbal people who need designated time to just zone out and mediate without someone or something interrupting our thoughts.

I get it now.

Next time this happens, I’ll try to accommodate somehow; maybe by taking you on a walk.

That’s why I enjoy writing, reading, and biking in my spare time. It’s a means of recharging from human interaction.

Whereas the total of two hours of driving we usually do when we’re not on vacation gives us that “zone out” time, we aren’t getting that regularly this week.

So while your behavior this morning did seem pretty weird, now that I’ve written to you about it, it totally makes sense.

And that only further exemplifies why taking a social break is a good thing sometimes.




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