It’s Spring Break!
All of the kids were booted from school this week. Something about the school closing, and this is an annual event, and we parents should have prepared for it in advance, and NO, we’re emphatically not allowed to send our kids to school anyway. (It was just a question, School. Sheesh.)
So, this weekend, we packed up the kids, begged a kind neighbor to take our dog, ran around in our typical car-loading flurry of activity and mild frustration, and now we’re vacationing at the beautiful Oregon Coast.
sunset at the beach house
Phew! There’s nothing quite like preparing for a vacation that makes me really, really need a vacation. Except, maybe, the vacation itself.
Ah, vacation! That wonderful time of the year when we drive a few hours away to a house less than half the size of our own with a quarter of the electronics and none of the enclosed outdoor space so we can all get sick of each other faster than we usually do.
In part, I kid.
In part, I tell the truth. Because there’s a chaos and a madness present when we knowingly take the usual family rhythm and smash it to smithereens. When we pressure cook our routine. When we expect our kids (and *ahem* ourselves) to adjust to different waking and different sleeping and different eating and different playing and different everything… and to do it all kindly.
I used to feel angst and small slices of guilt about how we handled ourselves during vacation, and I used to believe that other families handled the same pressures with so much more grace and peace and, well, perfection.
Now that I’m older, though, I’ve noticed that it’s not just vacation that’s full of chaos, madness, constant change, and the need to learn to handle each other with kindness. That, to me, sounds an awful lot like life. So now, when I consider our messy and imperfect family time together, I think what awesome practice for life!
There’s a funny about learning and practicing; they don’t usually happen when everything is already perfect. Nope. Learning and practicing happen mostly in environments where there’s room for improvement.
It’s Spring Break!
And my family is on vacation.
And this instant message tonight with my sister-in-law sums it all up quite nicely:
Kim: Beach good?
Me: Yes. You know. It’s family vacation. Exhausting. Full of bickering. Occasional shining moments of family oneness. Sometimes it blows. Sometimes it’s bliss. All in all, it’s a good use of time.
Kim: Sounds about as perfect as you could hope for! Congratulations!
I’m pretty sure Kim’s on to something.
Our family time together IS about as perfect.
And that’s a great place to be.