If we ever doubted for a nanosecond our decision to be “through at two” kids, it was firmly sealed while on vacation last weekend with many tears shed by Miss C over an overpriced foam lion mask accidentally torn by Miss A about five minutes after pulling out of the zoo parking lot. This was quickly followed by a coughing jag suffered by Miss A and the subsequent removal of her frozen lemonade and vomit soaked Old Navy sundress in a CVS parking lot in Pensacola Beach. Of course, being the prepared mother of the year, I had packed no change of clothes for the day so she rode back to the condo in nothing but a fresh diaper. We had been on our way to meet my dad and stepmother for lunch after our morning at the zoo but couldn’t call them to take a raincheck because I had left my cell phone back at the condo, the hubby didn’t have my stepmother’s cell phone number programmed in his phone, and neither of us knew the number. Luckily they called us when we no showed at the restaurant.
These are the family vacation bloopers you don’t capture on video tape. And much like the early months of parenting, these are the memories that will fall by the wayside. Instead, they’ll be replaced by happy memories such as Miss C’s newfound confidence in the pool and her dog paddling for the first time with the help of water wings.
Other than that very angst filled post-zoo episode, which I blame on wandering around in the heat all morning and breathing in one too many rhino poop fumes, we had a great trip. I’ll admit, though, that more than once the hubby and I caught ourselves wistfully imagining vacationing at the beach when the girls are older and more independent. While there is a part of me that looks forward to the days when packing for our beach vacation doesn’t include making sure we have enough diapers, of both the regular and swim variety, there is also a part of me that will miss the sippy cups and floaties at the beach days.
My dad and stepmother have owned vacation property in the same area of Florida for more than 20 years. It hit me profoundly over the weekend how much I have changed in those years, while the sand and surf has remained relatively unchanged, despite a few party crashers from Mother Nature (Opal, Ivan, and Dennis). As a teenager I used to troll for boys and live for hitting the strip in the closest tourist trap town and achieving the perfect tan. As a mother I just want to relax with my family and make it through the day without any temper tantrums or painful sunburns.
Now we as a family are making our own special memories. We have a photo, just the hubby and I and Miss C, from 2004 at Papa’s Beach, our first trip as a family. Little did I know I was barely pregnant with Miss A and we’d be returning as a family of four two years later. And now we are already talking about a return visit this fall.
The ocean has a way of soothing the soul, even when it is worn down by one too many “Mommy, catch me!” requests from the side of the pool.