I’m really struggling with using the term “vacationing” to describe what my family and I are doing this week. Yes, we are at the beach in a resort area. Yes, we are participating in leisurely activities like swimming, playing on the beach and at the pool, going to bonfires on the beach, playing games and enjoying rides at the boardwalk, yet saying that I’m “vacationing” might imply to some that there is relaxation going on as well.
The reality of it is there is even less sleep, more activity, and the struggle to clean up after three kids in someone else’s house. Although I have a beach chair, it does little for me other than add to the scenery and is not so much something I use to relax and unwind on the beach. Forget bringing a book to read (one of my favorite beach activities in what feels like a former life), and napping on the beach is a far fetched dream (even for the kids). There’s way too much other stuff going on like swimming, collecting shells, digging holes and making sand castles and taking walks. Then there’s the other really fun stuff like packing, applying (and reapplying) suntan lotion, sandy diapers, sandy mouths, and carrying bags/toys/chairs/coolers. Which reminds me, when I was younger I had one bag and one chair. My bag had a towel, water, snack, book, and suntan lotion. Now when we go to the beach we have:
- Beach towels for five
- Beach blanket
- Lotions ranging from SPF 50 to 15
- Regular diapers, wipes and ointment (sand in the pants can cause some serious chafing)
- Swim diapers
- Change of clothes for each kid
- Wallet, keys, cell phones
- Sand toys (42 buckets, 37 shovels/rakes, watering cans, sifters, other assorted items)
- Beach blanket toys (coloring books, crayons, reading books, cards, hand held games)
- Cooler with water, juice, juice boxes, soda, (beer/wine), sandwiches
- Assorted snacks like cookies, crackers, chips
- Beach Umbrella
- Beach chairs
Total time to pack, dress and lather kids with lotion: 1-2 hours
Total time on beach: 1-3 hours
Although I am already exhausted and we still have a week remaining, I’m going to enjoy myself if it kills me. Some of my favorite childhood memories were from time spent on family “vacations,” and there’s a special feeling watching my kids enjoying summer and loving life at the beach:
So for now I’ll be enjoying my vacation while trying to find a more appropriate term for the self-induced stress, sleep deprivation, and paradoxical fun we’ll be having the rest of the week. And to quote one of the greatest characters of all time:
“Well I’ll tell you something. This is no longer a vacation. It’s a quest. It’s a quest for fun. I’m gonna have fun. You’re gonna have fun. We’re all gonna have so much fucking fun we’ll need plastic surgery to remove our goddamn smiles. You’ll be whistling ‘Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah’ out of your assholes!” ~Clark W. Griswold from “Vacation”
Do you have a better fitting term for what I and countless others are partaking in this summer? Leave me a comment!
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