Sunday, July 7, 2013

Summer vacation and traditions

"Every summer our family goes to ______________."

This year we hope we filled in that blank, and traveled to a place we plan to visit each summer.
Our simple, little campsite
Amanda and I have been a couple for a long time, but we have not established too many traditions. Doing the same thing every year just did not appeal to us. After Ezra was born Amanda began to think differently. She wanted Ezra to have more consistency than we craved. She also pointed out that planning annual events would be much easier if a few of the variables remained constant rather than always starting from scratch.

Though initially reluctant, I now agree. My childhood had many more family traditions than Amanda’s, and I fondly remember looking forward to these yearly rituals. I found comfort in knowing certain foods would always appear at a holiday, specific customs would help us celebrate our birthdays, and we would always return to the same location for our summer vacation. I did not find the predictability of these traditions boring. Knowing what was going to happen added to my anticipation and excitement.

This trip was about establishing tradition. I think we made a great start, but we also hope that not everything about this year’s vacation becomes a repeat occurrence. Particularly, traveling in utter chaos. Here is a list of what not to do when traveling to your summer destination:

  1. Instead of using a map, GPS, or even stopping to ask for directions along the way, just quickly glance at Google map directions several days before leaving and feel confident that you will eventually make it to where you want to be. You will, but it will take twice as long. On the plus side: We found a delicious and fun local pizza place for dinner that let us draw on the table, and according to Ezra, had the world’s best chocolate milk.
  2. Only decide to take the vacation a few weeks prior to leaving, and leave immediately after hosting a large event out of town so that you do not have any time to plan. On the plus side: Since we had not planned an itinerary our vacation was extremely low key and relaxing with plenty of time to explore and discover.
  3. Ignore weather reports and assume it will never rain even though you are camping. Who wants to pack rain gear? It takes up so much room. On the plus side: The rain gave us time to explore the two touristy cities adjacent to our campsite.
  4.  Insert your debit card in the cash slot at a toll booth. On the plus side: A toll booth is a wonderful place to rest for a half hour while waiting for a worker to come retrieve your card. 
Okay, that last part is a stretch, but our vacation often felt like an exercise in finding the good in less than ideal circumstances. Mastering this ability is really a great tool to leading a happy life and surviving parenting young children. When is a better time to practice this than on vacation? Maybe part of our yearly tradition should be to use our vacation as a time for self-improvement.

No comments: