Ever since I was a kid, my family has done vacation trips to the beach. Growing up, it was Ocean City, on the east coast of Maryland. When I got married, my wife and I started going to Chincoteague, Virginia, a little sleepy beach town about 30 miles south of the MD/VA line. The last time we went was when my wife was pregnant with Jack back in 2013. Driving home from the trip, we lamented our loss of Reilly and Scott time to be replaced with a child that would make future trips different and more difficult to enjoy. The following year after my son was born we didn't do a vacation, mainly because of lifestyle changes with my wife becoming a stay at home mom and us wanting to save money. This year though, we accepted a trip from my wife's parents and decided to take Jack on his first beach trip.
Taking a toddler on vacation is a scary proposition. Will he sleep OK at night? Will his nap be disrupted? Will there be kid friendly restaurants? How expensive is this going to be? These are a couple of the thoughts that go through your mind before a vacation with a toddler. Long story short though, the vacation was a hit. Jack loved the place we were staying at, had fun at the beach (although the water wasn't really to his liking), and pretty much everything my wife and I liked to do before (short of staying out late) was able to be done with the little one accompanying us. Having another set of adults around was also a welcome treat, because we were able to take our eyes off Jack for more than 30 seconds without fear he was going to do something hazardous to his health. We spent the days at the beach, the afternoons taking naps, and the evenings at dinner and consuming copious amounts of ice cream and caramel popcorn. Before we knew it, the vacation was over and we were returning to normal life and shortly after, work.
While the vacation may have been over in a flash, the family time and ability to get away from normal life, if even for just a few days, was invaluable. Work often carries over to family life in late night emails and weekend requests, so being able to leave my laptop at home for the first time ever in my adult working life was a very welcome. It allowed me to be more present in the moment and experience the time for what it was, getting away from regular life for a little to relax and recharge. With the switching of jobs last year, the lifestyle change of Reilly quitting her job and becoming a full time mom, things can get a bit hectic. Being able to back away from real life, the bills, the work, etc. for a little and recharge is something I highly recommend to all families. I was a bit hesitant at first and tried to talk my wife into doing a staycation to save money, but in the end, I'm glad we went. Jack was able to gain some awesome experiences, was able to see the beach and the sand for the first time in his life, and we did it all as a family. Plus, if we didn't go, Jack and I would have never met the local bikini clad bear!