The Perfect Vacation and Naptime to Boot by Melissa Swedoski

Summer has descended in all its verdant glory.

Yeah, not so much. It’s already 90 degrees and looks like it’s going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. I don’t mind winter. I recognize that winter in Texas doesn’t mean the same thing to my comrades in the northern states, but if I had to choose, I’m still going with gray days and hot chocolate on the couch.

This isn’t an old gal thing, either. I can distinctly remember the summer of 1980, when the record heatwave hit, thinking, there has got to be somewhere cooler than here. And I’ve lived here my entire life, so it’s not like I’m trying to acclimate to the climate after living in the Antarctic for the first 40 years.

Summer also means that you’re supposed to go on vacation. If you’re taking notes, that means loading up a 2 year old, a 1 year old, a 30 year old husband who doesn’t like to be in the car for longer than a trip to Target, and me, who has the neurotic need to cater to all their whims so everyone in the car is happy. Kind of like running the big race with molasses in your shoes. Never tried that? Weird.

We could take the family adventure vacation, in which we travel somewhere to go hiking, biking, fishing, water skiing, horseback riding and atv riding. Or, as I like to call it, the vacation from hell with two toddlers. Which one will we lose track of first? Which one will take a header into cactus first? Which one will have a poopsplosion on the nature walk first? Which one will attempt to drive the atv herself and thus land us in the next county? The last one was a gimme. That’s the 2 year old. Duh.

We could take the relaxing vacation. Cabin by a stream, no boats, no tv, no phones, no wi-fi access; only playing in the yard, splashing in the water, reading, board games and grilling out at night. I’m sorry, did I just lose my mind? No tv??

We could take the long drive for a really interesting historical landmark vacation that will have no impact whatsoever at this developmental stage in the toddlers’ lives while the adults spend the day exhausting themselves by trying to get their money’s worth out of the $84 price of admission and simultaneously keep the children from going home with another family. Whew.

And, of course, there’s the we’ll cater to our children’s needs at this point and hope for a better family vacation in the future. This includes trips to the zoo, aquarium, botanic gardens, amusement parks, water parks, and my personal favorite, Target. What? That’s totally like a kids playground. My 1 year old thinks it’s awesome. She can pull stuff off racks and no one says a word. Best playdate, ever.

Besides, I just fired up the Google machine, and it turns out there’s a LegoLand near where we live. In fact, all of those things are within an hour drive for us. Coincidence? Oh, no, it’s just the vacation gods smiling down on me. If I time it all just right, the kids will crash in the backseat on the drive home, and I’ll catch a 30 minute power nap as well.

This, my friends, is how Webster’s should be defining vacation.


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