The Ten Stages of a Family Vacation

So you’ve booked a family vacation! Undoubtedly you are excited about escaping reality for a little bit, maybe unplugging and recharging the family-time battery. Your mind is racing with thoughts of how awesome it will be. The wonderful things you will do, the memories that will be made.

Yes, many of us have been there before. It’s like a new love, all excitement and anticipation. You dream about it, create an idealized view of it. And then reality starts to set in. It looks something like this.

1. Euphoria: We are going on a vacation! This is going to be an amazing trip! It might be our best idea ever! Can we say Genius?

2. Remorse: Holy Crap! What were we thinking? This trip is going to cost a fortune! We will be in one tiny room with our children, those little beings that drive us crazy with ridiculous squabbles about how one touched the others dinner plate.

3. The Announcement: Now we need to tell our family and friends that we are blowing them off to go somewhere other than their house.

4. The Realization: In hopes of not having this trip cost even more money by needing an entire new wardrobe, I will now lose an exorbitant amount of weight in the next eight weeks.

i. The Realization (sub group A): I need new clothes, even though I just updated my whole wardrobe to account for my new size (see above).

5. The Arrival: Ahhh…We are here! Isn’t this fantastic?! I can’t believe it took us this long to do this. Genius!!

6. Recognition: (this sets in on day three, day four if you are lucky) What the HELL were we thinking? This was the worst idea ever! I can’t believe I wanted to spend time with these people!

7. The Countdown: The search for earlier departure days in hopes of escaping the claustrophobia of a 200 square foot hotel room that we are sharing with the demons we call our children.

8. Survival: It is now time to channel our inner Zen. We will drink numerous alcoholic beverages, take long walks, and do anything to make it through these last few days together.

9. Departure: Thank God this vacation is OVER. Put a fork in us. Holy crap that was a long time to be together! I swear, next time we are only staying six days – the sweet spot where when we leave we are sad and not rejoicing like we currently are.

10. Reminiscing: This normally doesn’t happen until about six months out. That was the best vacation ever! We had such an awesome time together. Remember that dinner? That funny thing that so and so did? Man I can’t wait for next year’s vacation!

And so it goes with family vacations. When you are deep in the throes of it you think we are NEVER doing this again. However, a few months removed you remember that smile your child had when they saw something amazing that they never would have been exposed to at home. Or that funny line someone said that has now become the inside family joke. Or the moments you stole a glance at your spouse and caught them completely content.

So even though my family just returned from a vacation and I have exiled them all to separate areas of our house, I am looking forward to planning our next trip. I am sure there will be lots of aggravations and fun interwoven into it, but there is no other group of people I would rather do it with.

Ok, that’s a lie – I can think of a few people I might rather go on vacation with, but the people that share the same last name and house as me are a close second, alright fine – close third.

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