A few weeks ago, my family took a morning trip to the beach. After two hours of prep, four missing hats, and one lost set of keys, we were off — only to get halfway down the street and realize we’d left the front door open. Not just unlocked. Wide open. Pretty typical exit for us.
As this unfolded, I realized I’d made a Very Good Decision when I’d declared that this was the summer we’d go nowhere. There is no bucket list. No vacation. My plan is to resist all plans.
We’ve gone away several times since we’ve had kids. Each trip is a blur of planning, lists, packing, and stress; all to find we’ve got the same family dynamic on the road that we do at home (hot mess), but with none of the stuff or routine that holds us together when we are at home (separate personal space). So my vacation this year will be not taking a vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of a vacation. Just not this year. I need a real break that doesn’t include getting back into town the night before work with a bag full of dirty laundry strapped to the roof of the car.
And yes, Boston is a lovely place to staycation… but I’m not doing that either. The stress of an unchecked “must-do list” is just not something I’m adding to the summer. A few weeks ago we ditched plans to go to Beaver Brook after my kids started to melt down during the great packing extravaganza (towels! lunch! sunscreen! ack!). Nope. We ended up at our local playground instead, where my kids made friends with a neighbor and generally had a lovely time. I didn’t have to get in the car or pack anything more than I could shove in the stroller. There was minimal sulking. Everyone won. (In this scenario, it does help that Somerville has some amazing parks, most with water features.)
This made me see not only the stress of plans, but also the sweet relief of following the path of least resistance. Taking each day as it comes. My oldest son will be 6 in a few weeks, and he’s been begging for a day with nothing to do. After a year of kindergarten and weeks and weeks of camp ahead, it’s really the least I can give him.
Staying close to home also allows us to stick to our schedule, which greatly reduces our stress. This doesn’t mean we’re spending the summer indoors, however. Our solid old house can’t even contain the energy my two kids produce.
I can’t express how much I am looking forward to the rest of this summer. We spent time fixing up the yard this spring. We planted some clover and grass, put up some sweet bistro lights across the back so we could finally sit outside in the evening once the kids are asleep (every adult deserves to enjoy a yard without having sand flung at their face, right?).
A quick check of social media earlier revealed that traffic and carsickness are the topics of the day, but not for this family! We’ve been in the sandbox, half of us had a water balloon fight, and a quarter of us had a nap — all without changing out of pajamas. Summer bliss has been achieved.
That said, if anyone wants to take my kids on a vacation without me, let’s talk.