After spending a lovely, expensive week on Florida’s Gulf Coast, I was surprised to hear my children talk about the vacation memories they’ll cherish.
For a glorious week, we slept in, swam in the pool, played in the ocean waves,
fought like the Kardashians, built sandcastles, read great books and spent time with family and friends. We even visited Winter the famous, tailess dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, something we’ve been wanting to do ever since watching the movie Dolphin Tale.
What did my kids say they enjoyed most?
Ava (9 yo): Playing with my cousins and having a TV in my room.
Rhys (4 yo): Having a TV in my room and playing with my cousins.
Basically, they would have been happy at home. After a trip to Costco for televisions. Good to know.
My strongest memories of family vacations as a kid involve swimming pools and free sweet rolls at a little pancake restaurant called Wolfie’s. No matter where we went, as long as we had a pool (and free mini cinnamon buns to wash down my pancakes) I was happy.
A good friend recalls traveling as a child with her parents to European cities many of us would consider dream destinations. Her most vivid memory?
She clearly remembers the sugary cereal she wasn’t allowed to eat at home. Apparently, hotels around the world are familiar with Tony the Tiger’s innumerable charms.
What memories stand out to you from your childhood vacations?
A highlight of this family vacation for me was unexpectedly running into an old friend on the beach …
I haven’t seen Laura since she moved away to the Chicago suburbs years ago. She has three beautiful children ranging from 11 to 6 years old who I haven’t seen since they were babies. Imagine walking on the beach in Florida and running into a long-lost friend. Serendipity!
Laura and I caught up on our non-spring break lives while our kids built sand castles together. Laura mentioned that her son, the oldest, asks her to hang out with him at night before he falls asleep. She doesn’t always want to, but because she knows he won’t be asking for much longer, she’s says yes. And she’s discovered they have their best conversations as he’s drifting off.
Her words really stuck in my head. I’ve been saying no to Ava a lot lately when she asks me to hold her as she falls asleep. We read together every night and by the time we’re done, I’m usually ready to have my own down time. Reasonable? Of course.
But last night when she asked me, I remembered Laura’s words and said yes. We cuddled and for a few minutes I experienced one of the purest joys of motherhood – cuddles and kisses from my not-so-little girl.
Soon my daughter won’t want me around as much. I already see her wanting to spend more and more time with her friends. I celebrate and support her friendships, yet I’m more aware of the precious, fleeting moments we spend together. At least some of the time.
My kids are so much a part of my life today I can’t imagine a time when they won’t want my undivided attention. But that time is quickly approaching. And I plan to enjoy every moment we have left.
So, move over, kids. Mama needs to cuddle.