6 Truths I Discovered on a Recent Family Vacation

It’s been a while since we returned (almost two weeks, to be exact), but I’ve finally had a few minutes to jot down my thoughts about our recent family holiday. Rather than giving a dissertation of the week’s events, I thought it might be more fun to capture the highlights another way. Hence, I developed an ode to our Palm Springs 2013 vacation which, in addition to allowing me to preserve and share a few of the finer moments, also serves as a way to foster and nurture my gratitude.

So without any further ado, here are the 6 truths I discovered during our week away:

1. Cake pops DO NOT a good breakfast make.

It should go without saying that cake pops are not suitable breakfast food. However, on one of second last morning when we’d run out of coffee filters, my husband took the kids to get me my mandatory morning caffeine fix. In addition to giving them hot chocolate, first thing in the morning, he also gave them each a cake pop—FOR BREAKFAST! My son isn’t much for sweets at the best of times, so my darling daughter decided she shouldn’t let her brother’s go to waste, polishing off her own and his. Not long after they returned, she complained of a tummy ache, and not long after that she yacked up those nasty cake pops. Kids, let this be a lesson to you. DO NOT, I repeat, do not eat cake pops for breakfast—or maybe ever. Yuck!

2. The power to manifest ice cream is strong in this one. (Use the force.)

I suggested going for ice cream after having dinner out on the third night of our trip. We failed to find an ice cream shop near the restaurant or somewhere on the way back to the rental house using the GPS, but I remembered seeing a Baskin Robins 31 Flavors when we were searching for a place to eat lunch on our first afternoon. My husband was skeptical about my memory but he humored me anyway, allowing me to talk him through how to get to the spot. And in the dark black night of the unfamiliar desert city, I was able to find the Baskin Robins exactly where I remembered it being, in broad daylight three days earlier. (Just call me the Ice Cream Rain Man.) The kids cheered and told me how awesome I was and I got my ice cream fix . Jamocha Almond Fudge, oh yeah! The moral of this little story: Never underestimate the power of a woman who NEEDS ice cream.

3. Give my kids a pool and they’ll swim for a week. Literally.

The kids woke up at 5:15 a.m. asking to go swimming the first morning in Palm Springs. We weren’t thrilled about getting up at that hour, so we told them the pool hadn’t warmed up enough yet and they would have to wait a bit or they would freeze in the water. As much as we were desperate for another hour of sleep, our stall tactic was designed to ensure the neighbours wouldn’t end up calling in a noise violation and hating us on the first day. But it’s true, all they wanted to do was swim—all day, every day. They wore their goggles and dove for rockets and played their silly made-up games that didn’t make any sense to us as adults. They swam and swam and swam. All the while my darling daughter would speak in a terrible Aussie accent while pretending she was a mermaid. On the bright side, swimming is a great energy burner and my children were always tired at bedtime. For this, I was extremely grateful. Can I get an Amen?

4. While we’re on the subject of kids, they really do say the darndest things!

Also quite early on in our trip, my son announced in the most straightforward, matter-of-fact tone possible, “Old people drive nice cars.” Not only had he astutely observed the prominent elderly demographic, but also that these people had a proclivity for fancy vehicles.

We had dinner at a Japanese steakhouse on our last night in Palm Springs. We were seated at a table with an older couple from Victoria, B.C. and a younger couple who were most likely from somewhere in California (we didn’t ask but sometimes you can just tell). We had been seated and were waiting for quite some time before the chef entered the grilling area with all of the ingredients and supplies for our meal. At this point, my darling daughter exclaimed, “I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life!” While the California couple didn’t seem that amused, the rest of found her dramatic phrasing to be quite humorous.

I love how kids  almost always say exactly what they’re thinking or feeling right at a particular moment. And while this phenomenon can sometimes create awkward and embarrassing moments with my kids, it also has the potential to create awesome memories, just like these ones.

5. There’s no time like the present to start (or resume) doing what you want.

Many people like to let loose and throw out all  rules when they go on vacation. I guess it goes without saying I’m not like most people. In fact, I’d be the first to admit that I’m a bit of an odd duck. Desperately needing to detox from my self-inflicted Halloween chocolate overdose and get back on the exercise bandwagon that I had so badly fallen off, I set out to use this time to clean up my act, health wise. {RESET} I’m proud to say I ran and worked out two times each, on top of eating (mostly) healthy, improving my hydration (starting each day with a glass of hot lemon water), taking my vitamins, and getting plenty of rest. My healthy living efforts were made that much sweeter when my husband and kids joined me in a couple of mini “bootcamp” style workouts in the backyard. (I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything cuter than my daughter (7) and son (5) giving it their all, doing jumping jacks, push ups, and mountain climbers in their funny little ways.) This is truly an awesome memory I will cherish always!

6.  Moments of gratitude are all around us, all the time. You just have to start noticing.

It’s amazing how everything starts to shift, almost instantly, when you recognize the need to let go—or start to loosen your grip, even just a bit. Perhaps what I am most grateful for about this vacation was how it allowed me to get out of my head and press the pause button on my chronic over thinking. I finally finished reading Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love. Despite my frustration with having started this book 6-8 months ago, I found it amazing to know the words I was reading were exactly what I needed at that exact moment. I completely acknowledge the fact that it’s much easier to grasp the concept of “letting go” when you’re sipping sangria underneath a palm tree. And of course the true test is whether my ego will allow it once I get back to reality. But I also need to give myself credit for the giant strides I’ve made in this area. Armed with greater awareness, I’ve made a commitment to letting go of fear and tuning into love in all aspects of my life. And so it shall continue.

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In the end, there’s no place like home.

Don’t get me wrong, when I go on vacation I truly do enjoy the time away from my everyday life and routine. I like to explore new places; to see and learn new things. But when it’s time to pack up and come home, I’m always ready. I am homebody. I miss my dog. I love my bed. And as nice as it is to go away, having a comfortable, happy place to come back home to is AMAZING.

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