All summer, I have been feeling a lot of pressure to “take a vacation” like we do every year.
The last few years I have taken the kids either by myself, or with my parents, to the beach or Orlando. Last year was tops in their book. My boyfriend and I took all four kids to Myrtle Beach. It was the best vacation.
How do I top that when 1) my boyfriend and I are no longer together and 2) I am so apprehensive about traveling right now with Ian?
Considering we basically discovered Ian had diabetes while traveling over Christmas vacation, I just associated a whole lot of bad with traveling any distance.
And now I had to think about supplies and food and drinks and emergencies solo. It was just too overwhelming and created a lot of anxiety for me.
I have done short little jaunts to Cleveland with my parents. We’ve been to the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame, an Indians game, and a Cavs game since Ian’s diagnosis.
But to take a trip, just me and the kids….
I wanted to do it. I really, really did. And at least half a dozen times, I would sit down with my laptop and look up possible destinations. (Only those within driving distance, it will be a long time until I want to fly again.)
I’d go as far as the button to confirm a hotel reservation and I’d chicken out. I’d scrap the whole plan.
In fact, the first week of summer I did this very thing and ended up picking them up at their dad’s an hour later with a different plan when they immediately asked, “What are we gonna do this week? Are we going anywhere?”
I shared our itinerary in one big breath and with as much enthusiasm as I could, “Well, right now we are going grocery shopping and you can pick out some snacks! Tonight we will go to the park and play putt-putt! Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain, so I thought we’d go to a movie. Wednesday and Thursday we can go to the lake (and you can take friends). Friday we are having a bonfire at Pa’s house! And Saturday…we are going to my cousin Kendyl’s graduation party.”
Well, my pitch worked.
Ian exclaims, “Yes!!!! This is the best week EV-ER!”
Ah, thank you, God, for letting my children love the little things in life.
The week ended up costing me under $30. (We didn’t go to the movie; I think we settled on the library instead.)
Honestly, we could have probably repeated that week five more times this summer and they’d have been ok with that.
But something kept pushing me to do more. Go further. Get away. The little voice in my head wouldn’t stop. “You can do this. You need to do this. Start small. Baby steps.”
So…on Saturday I said the words out loud to MJ…”Maybe we should go to Pittsburgh tomorrow? Go to IKEA? I don’t know. We could even stay overnight at a hotel…with a pool?”
I had her at “pool.” Her eyes lit up.
Step 1 to being held accountable: Say something out loud in front of your teenage daughter.
From there, the wheels were set in motion.
As Ian played Wii in the other room, we talked about what time we could leave. What we could do. What we needed to pack. We looked at hotels. I didn’t go as far as hitting the button to confirm a hotel reservation but I was knee-deep in the promise of a road trip.
Taken by Ian on my iPhone on the way out of town.
We may have only been gone one night, and only went an hour and a half away, but this may have been one of the best and most memorable of all our vacations.
In fact, it was so special and eventful, I am reserving 3 more blog posts about specific parts of the trip.
But I will tell you this: For me, this trip was huge. It showed me that I can do it.
I can plan, pack, drive, and survive a road trip with these two.
I am on the road again.