There is a solidarity amongst the parents at the resort, specifically the parents traveling with small children. “It’s a trip, not a vacation,” they say. “I already told you twice to stop doing that,” they say.“Next time Mommy and Daddy are leaving you home,” they say.
One of the ways I most enjoy my children is taking pictures of them. They certainly spiced up my social media presence just when I was running out of things to say. Whereas the perfect selfie or the most amazing dish was once so worthy of capturing, now I just want them both smiling at the camera as the sun sets dramatically behind them, without causing too much backlight, so that I can update the lock screen on my phone and my desktop at work.
But hanging out as a family all day for a week? It’s enough to send you back to the office on Monday, eager to dive back into tasks that were saved for “after the holidays.” Each time we travel as a family we get a little better at it, like an annual work project that improves incrementally, year after year.
For now, we send our 1st grader to the kids’ club at our resort, and we play with our toddler all day. She’s happy playing with other kids, and we’re happy spending time with a child learning to talk, but not yet talking back. Of course, this strategy only works if we keep having children so that we will always have a baby to play with. Alternatively, we can look forward to that mythical time when we send both our children off to activities, and just spend time with each other. I’ve sent that glow in the faces of parents of overnight campers. It’s the glow of getting your house back.
“I miss my teacher,” my daughter says toward the end of our trip. “So do we,” we think. But as I watch her playing in the sand during our last evening on the beach (kids’ club having closed early), I take the proverbial pride and joy in seeing her navigate playing patiently with her little brother and other children, even teaching a smaller girl how to pour a bucket gently into a sand castle moat instead of splattering water everywhere. I love seeing my son finally brave enough to walk boldly into the shallow waves, without protesting like he did in previous days.
For moments like these, I can’t lift my phone fast enough, and you can’t really capture it anyway. But the mental picture will last far beyond the lock screen or the desktop. Filed away forever.