Our family vacation was talked about months ago when we booked it. Many sentences started "In April when we go to Hawaii, we are going to...." This was the first big planned trip away to a real vacation spot and we were all so excited. Days leading up to the trip you could spot more than a few of us in our straw hats and sun wear gearing up for warm weather fun.
As with any toddler, flying isn't the most fun. Right now he can scream louder than any other child I have ever heard so my enthusiasm wasn't glowing when I stepped on our plane. The whining started almost immediately from both kids. She wanted to use the iPad the second she sat down and he wanted to sit as close, if not on her lap. We survived the flight and then the long wait for a rental car, knowing that on holiday there is a lot of waiting involved but there will be a reward when we get there.
When we arrived at the house we rented, we met our friends with whom we planned the trip. We chose the rooms to stay in, unpacked the cribs we rented and hit the beach. Or I should say the beach hit us. It was so windy that the sand was flying up and it made it feel quite cold. We maybe stayed fifteen minutes and told ourselves tomorrow will be better.
Tired from the traveling, I was ok calling it a night early, and I reflected on how I am not quite traveling with easy ages quite yet. I remember thinking when Twig was 3 how she began throwing tantrums, and that when I planned on having a baby, I didn't think about having a kid. I was so focused on the baby part. That being said when she was a newborn and I was bouncing a colicky little baby body to help her stop crying, I thought I wanted kids, not this crying blob that isn't getting that I am doing everything I can to help her. The grass is always greener, but there is some truth to the sweet spot of childhood. I do fantasize about 6 and 9 or anything after that. Even five now is good but the almost two part is the wild card. I daydream about road trips where we can all play games like counting cars, or reading the population of a new town we enter. I fondly remember road trips when I would sit upside down in the back seat of our station wagon. The punishment for that now is probably as harsh as getting a DUI, but it was fun.
At any age though you can go away and your well planned trip could go badly. This wasn't exactly a great vacation. It had some great moments, but it had a lot of sick ones too. The first night there the little one who was asleep in the rented pack and play in the bathroom (two things you don't need to do with older kids: put them to bed in the bathroom and rent them "stuff" to sleep in) woke up coughing. It wasn't just a little cough so we were up all night and the next morning, our first day, I walked him to the local urgent care. He had bronchitis and so I walked him home with a prescription thinking looking onward. When I walked in the door my daughter was lethargic in my husbands arms. She went on to have a 24 hour bug followed by her own trip to urgent care two days later for strep and Scarlett fever. Two kids on antibiotics and the wind hadn't exactly let up but here and there there were sunny moments and we took advantage of them. By Wednesday we were all better and went out for an amazing day. We saw beautiful mountains, water, a farm, swam in the ocean and went boogie boarding. We were happy. Thursday, our last full day we planned to take a big outing as a group to Hamunalo Bay to snorkel. When I woke up my throat was sore but I was in a denial that anything else could go wrong. By the time we got to the bay I felt kind of tired but I ignored it. When I sat down on the sand I felt like I might not be able to ever get up. I put on a good face for everyone and even put on a snorkel since I didn't want to regret not seeing the fish. It took a lot of strength to get myself in the water but I actually felt better swimming around. By the time the day was ending there was no more ignoring for me. I asked my husband to drive me to urgent care where I found out I had 102 fever and strep throat. Just in time to fly home.
I think we will wait for our kids to get a little older before we take such a big trip again. It wasn't the best vacation. It wasn't horrible and we are already having a laugh about it but we came home ready for a rest. Fortunately we live near some amazing beautiful beaches where I plan on going boogie boarding this summer. I shouldn't have to get on a plane for another crazy ride like the one in Hawaii.