“Have any big plans this summer?” It’s the inevitable question people like to ask when making small talk when the seasons start to change from needing a rain jacket to slathering on the sunscreen.
I smile and almost disappointingly respond, “No, just hanging around here.”
I love vacationing, I really do. And family trips in the summer hold some of my fondest memories of growing up. But I’m just not there yet with my family. And that’s okay.
My sons are still young, ages three and one, so there are some logistics that come with traveling with them. How many diapers do I need to pack? What is the sleeping situation going to be like? How many hours do I think my giant bag of snacks will last? How many potty breaks will we take before we are 100 miles from home? Should I bring earplugs for my travel companions if I decide to board a plane with a couple screaming banshees? Do I put the baby through the scanner? How many times can I feasibly answer, “Are we there yet?”
We recently traveled 50 miles to stay in a hotel overnight for a family member’s funeral the following day, and the experience of that trip still haunts me. We had a hyped up three-year old who didn’t sleep until he crashed close to midnight, and a baby who slept maybe 90 minutes laying on top of me because he refused to do anything other than scream in his Pack n’ Play. Any thoughts I had of even a fun family getaway this summer was squashed by a trip that lasted less than 24 hours.
This summer, I will see my Facebook and Instagram feeds flooded with sunny trips to the beach and camping trips filled with fishing and campfires. Dream vacations to Disney World and Caribbean cruises create beautiful backdrops for summer family photos. And I will revel in these images. I love seeing families get a break from their day-to-day and enjoy a little bit of R and R.
But me? I’ll be soaking up the sun in my backyard watching my boys splash around a water table and run through the sprinkler, finding endless joy in the simplicity. S’mores taste (nearly) as good over a grill as they do a campfire, and trips to the park don’t come with hours-long lines and overpriced admission.
If you’re counting down the days to your dream summer vacation to wherever, that’s great! I am all about making those memories and exploring your world. But if you haven’t collected enough PTO (paid time off), haven’t scraped up enough in your budget, or are simply looking forward to a relaxing summer at home, that’s okay. Summer is what you make it. You do you.