Laundry in another state

What a good *family* vacation looks like

A good family vacation is not the same as a good girlfriends’ getaway or a fun long weekend trip with your significant other. A good family vacation is less about your specific desires or pleasure and more on the overall family temperament. I learned this the hard way—you can technically take a young child to New Orleans, but you can’t make him love parades or beignets or sleeping in late or slowly walking down a street while you nurse a frozen alcoholic beverage.

Our family trip to Michigan had a lot of nice low-key moments that came with the price tag of family annoyingness. Quiet mornings thanks to screens were followed by a big dust-up over a kid being a brat about not wanting to surrender his screen. A rented pontoon boat came with a kid who had to urgently poop and another one asking inane persistent questions while we tried to figure out if we could quickly dock the boat without breaking the motor in the shallow water. Outdoor time, but with a kid moping about his mosquito bites and a husband moping about the moping. I did a lot of reading but also a lot of laundry.

But with that said it has gotten so much easier to travel with my kids over the last few years (now 6 and 9). I’m thinking in particular of the time a few years ago I tried to get the kids to quiet down and get sleepy in broad daylight at 7:30 PM in a Cleveland hotel in bed with me and one kid accidentally shoved his finger up my nostril so far it hurt. Or just waiting for our toddler to scream/sob until he fell asleep as we drove around Maine, the only way he got a nap which he was very slowly outgrowing. My husband losing his cool, also in Cleveland, when the toddler looked behind him and laughed as he ran off the sidewalk into the street. Turning around over and over again to refill a Melissa and Doug water pen (why?) that was being literally sucked dry (why???) until my neck hurt and I put in EarPods and refused to listen to anyone.

I had, on this trip, I’d say 1.5 Big Yells, which is far better than years when it felt like I had several per day. I didn’t lose my shit at my kids once about bedtime shenanigans. My husband lost his shit on them at the end of a long day but not to the extent that made me come in and ask if he wanted a break. Aside from the first night, the kids didn’t stay up way late or get up way early. We did a pretty good job unplugging from the world at large, and I got into that “Let’s eat dessert every night” vibe that I was glad to take home—because our kids’ summer camp this week was canceled. The timing is in some ways ideal because I am already in a mindset to do slow outdoorsy things and pokey drive-around errands to kill time. I already wasn’t responding to emails that well last week, so let’s just let it roll. Sandwiches for dinner every night. A crucial piece of my vacation vibe is that since we’ve been outdoors we can all do screens with no guilt (my philosophy.) But the other side of that is that I have deadlines I scheduled when I thought I’d have several hours per day to work. The older one had his birthday yesterday and he’s not too old for Legos (see: the floor is Legos.) I am ready for school to start, but uneasy about it for various reasons, and then pissed about why I’m uneasy. I’m really ready to get the kids out of the house, but also eager to postpone school drama, local or national. I can already tell some folks are coming into the school year hot and I want to ignore it but I know I can’t. Like winter, it’s coming.

Anyway, that’s my current mindset, so I hope you’ll forgive me if this is all for Witches this week and we return to our regularly scheduled content and cadence next week, when school is allegedly starting (with a half day, whyyy).

Til then—thank you for your patience. How is your summer winding down/fall winding up?


End credits

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