Days 16 through 20. Oh man, vacationing is a different creature now. We used to pack a lot for camping, now we pack a ton. We used to drink and play cards around the fire late into the night, now we drink, lament our exhaustion before I turn in at 10pm. We never had to utter the words – please don’t eat the rocks…until now that is. Vacation with a one-year-old is nothing I could have planned for. I mean I had a general idea of the chaos it would bring but you never really know how much different it will be until you are NECK. DEEP. IN. IT.
Day 16 – The doomed car ride. An adventure right? You strap a toddler to a car seat for hours and see how you fare. Your promises of fun at the end of the ride fall to deaf ears. Go ahead and try to negotiate terms with them – good behavior and we can stop for ice cream. Fuck your bribes, I want out of this seat – is likely all you will get in return. Honestly, who could blame the child. But that long car ride was our adventure for the day. In the end we settled on a hotel room in Belfast rather than the extra drive time to Bar Harbor. A good move considering Mere’s xx and Brian’s jet lag. But it was strange that on the fourth of July – they were asleep by 7:30 pm while I watched Armageddon in a darkened hotel room.
Day 17 – It’s so HOT! Once we made it to Bar Harbor we should be in the clear? Well not exactly. The rare heat wave causes a problem when you’re camping with a toddler. It’s too hot for her to play outside (she’s part polar bear like her mama) and it’s too boring inside (like stores where she can break stuff). So we did what most parents do… ran her all over town. There were some awesome moments – like ice cream in the park, fountain fun and playing with dogs. But the stress of the day trying to keep everyone entertained and comfortably cool took a toll on everyone. Counting the moments till we put our little crazed tornado to bed, it seemed like a train wreck of a day. One where we wondered out loud over a crackling fire whether we were totally fucking up our kid with this business. But after a beer and some quiet I practiced finding my happiness in the chaos, and remembered that awesome hour in the park where we seemed at ease with everything around us.
Day 18 – A day full of nothing. Check that. A day full of rain. Again, with Mere there is no good way to spend a rainy day camping. No beach. No hiking or biking. Not even a pub crawl was possible. So we sat in our tent for 3 hours. And I think we’d all admit it was fan-fucking-tastic. It was like a padded room full of toys. Mere could find nothing that would satisfy her penchant for danger. We played. We read books. We watched silly videos. We all napped. It wasn’t the type of activity we usually include in a vacation. We didn’t do anything that we couldn’t do in our own home. We didn’t do much of anything at all. But when the rain cleared and we ventured out to dinner for sun, lobster and blueberry pie, everyone was in a stellar mood.
Day 19 – Actual Vacation! The way we always intended it. Biking the carriage roads. Blueberry lemonade and popovers at Jordan Pond House. Mere fell in love with her first stuffed animals. She found a lobster and seal that made her squeal so loud with delight I couldn’t NOT get them for her. We had a nice hike out to the Otter Cliffs to take in the ocean breeze. And we finally got to the point where we were not a slave to our original plan. Instead of staying another night camping and spending the majority of Sunday driving home, we decided to pack up in the evening and let Mere sleep most of the way in the car. As the sun set and Mere clutched her new best friends in sweet sleep-filled silence, I finally felt like we were getting the hang of vacationing as a family.
Day 20 – Home a day early. This day allowed us to begrudgingly catch up on chores and prepare to go back to real life on Monday. But it also gave us a chance to sleep! Family nap time. We had things planned for this day in addition to the drive back from Bar Harbor. Needless to say it would have been unlikely that we’d gotten to ANY of it had we actually started our trek home that morning. In the evening – feeling particularly motivated – I started to put together my new spin bike. Getting it out of the packaging and into our bonus room had me all hyped. After an hour + however of trying to assemble the damn thing, I was considerably less enthusiastic. But I looked at it and the gain of the accomplishment definitely outweighed the pain and time of the assembly. Too late to use it Sunday night I pumped myself up for my first ride on Monday after Mere goes to bed.
What I’ve started to notice is that instead of picking one of my Things in the morning and trying to do one of them at some point during the day, I finish my day by reflecting on what I need from a spiritual sense. Am I worn out? Am I feeling bad about me? Then I need to look at my day again and find the happiness. Am I feeling stuck? Did the day pass without anything interesting? Then perhaps I need some inspiration. Do I need something to boost my confidence? Do I need to stop and look at something from a different point of view? Then I should look at all my decisions and to see if I was making a brave choice or sticking to my comfort zone. Again, it’s interesting that the picture I had of this whole silly experiment was so different than what I am actually experiencing. Thinking that I need a week of Inspiration so I may try to get more of those in this week.
#ksamdoesonething #onethingthatscaresyou #onethingthatmakesyouhappy #vacationthings