This past week, we went on a family vacation to Manitoulin Island to visit my husband's mom and her husband. It was not the most successful trip we've ever taken.
The drive—which takes six hours on a GOOD day—took an entire extra hour because part of the 400 was closed. My youngest got a GI virus, which she very kindly passed on to me and my mother-in-law. It took us all several days to recover, and then my husband got a cold. The weather was not fantastic—one morning, it felt like October—and being stuck indoors on Manitoulin Island is kind of missing the point.
By the end of the week, my husband and I had reached the point where we were ready to put the kids back in daycare for a bit, just so we wouldn't have to be CONSTANTLY entertaining them.
I admit it: I was a little pissed off. A whole week of hard-earned vacation, and that's what we get for it?
Here's the thing: when you have kids, you have to look for the moments that make a difference.
Watching my eldest climbing like a mountain goat on the (many) rocks. The sheer joy on her face as she ran in and out of the (very cold) water. The full hour we spent playing Crazy 8s on the kids' picnic table outside. The sweetness of seeing my youngest child interacting with her grandparents. A cold glass (or two) of chardonnay, watching the waves lap against the shore. Letting the battery die in my Blackberry and not checking my work email. Just doing nothing for five minutes.
It wasn't perfect, but what in life is? Especially when you have two growing, changing, demanding and energetic children with you. The thing about kids is, they're always there, 24/7...and while you know this intellectually, you don't really understand it emotionally until you have children of your own.
Life is busy, sticky, messy. Things rarely work out as you've planned. Case in point: my four-year-old, who should be napping right now, is sitting on my lap as I write this blog post.
It's not a perfect life, but it's a good life. As long as you can find the moments.