We never really considered taking the kids on vacation. Once in a while we’d talk about taking them to a beach or to Chicago to visit the Shedd but at the end of the day, it just sounded like more work and less vacation for what seemed like an insuramountable amount of money. We also justified it by saying “there’s a beach right down the road, what’s the difference?” or “we have an Aquarium in town.”

My mother-in-law started talking about a family vacation when I was pregnant with with The Beast and at first we shrugged it off as impossible. Three kids under five, one just six months old, in an airport lugging car seats and enough stuff to survive a week away from home?

Umm, can I get a Valium with a Tequila chaser, please?

Wait a second, I’m going to need something much harder than that.

Then, one day we were talking about how short life is and how I refuse to live my life waiting for someday and we just decided to go for it. How bad can it be? These things are all attitude. If you go in refusing to accept anything less than a good time, you’ll have a good time.

(I hoped) (I gave myself a lot of pep talks)

My in-laws helped out with the cost (which? AWESOME) or we wouldn’t have been able to even entertain the idea of going. $1800 a month in childcare will do that to you. Speaking of which, we should be able to buy a lake house with our second mortgage when they all start school, right? RIIIGHT.

We got up at 4AM a week ago and headed to the airport with three car seats, a stroller, a baby carrier, five suitcases, five carry-ons, a three thousand pound camera AND a breast pump. Oh, and a four year old, a three year old and a six month old baby.

The dialogue in my head went something like this, “I must have lost my mind. Are we really doing this? What did I forget? I’m so tired. What am I going to do when they all start screaming at the same time? I’m scared, someone hold me.”

And then something truly magical happened.

My kids behaved like angels. I watched the awe on their faces as they walked down a moving walkway for the first time. When they buckled their seatbelts on an airplane for the first time. When they felt the rush of the take-off and the landing. When they rode on the airport train. When they dipped their toes in the ocean and the looks on their faces when they realized it wasn’t bitter cold like the “ocean” they are used to. When they found a sea star and some crabs and went for shell hunts on the beach. When they saw real dolphins swimming in their natural habitat. When they built the “sweetest sand castles ever” that my girl decorated ever-so carefully with plastic toys. When they swam for hours upon hours in the pool and she finally got brave enough to put her face in the water. When they curled up on the couch in the beach house and watched movies with their cousins. When they sat on the balcony listening to the ocean and eating popsicles every night after dinner.

And all the preparation and all the cleanup and the baby not really feeling like sleeping for 10 days straight was all completely worth it.

Something sounds hard? You should go do it anyway.

Something sounds hard?You should go do it anyway.

-magpie morning