It struck me today as I sat on a beach chair in front of the Challenger slides, watching my kids fly down them at breakneck speed, how much more fun this vacation is now than it would have been even a year or two ago. Both my kids can swim, and both are old enough and confident enough to not need my presence every second while we are here. I’m able to go on the slides as much as I want, and then take a break, sitting in the sun while they go together, checking in now and then to see if I’m ready to join in again. This is SO much better than going with small children who are too short to go on the slides, or too scared, and who can’t swim or are too young to be left on their own for even a few seconds. I remember those vacations. They felt a lot more like work. This has been a real vacation. For all of us. Since we’re now 3 day veterans of the water park, the kids know their way around and feel comfortable going from one place to the next, even if I can’t see them. They know how deep the water is and how fast the slides are. Today my brave 6 year old went down the Leap of Faith, shaming grown men who chickened out at the last minute. And then he went again, and again. We got a video of Maya yesterday – there will be one of Ben tomorrow. We had dinner at Johnny Rockets – kind of your standard burger joint – and the waitress commented that me and my kids seemed to really enjoy each other. And we do. Is that uncommon?
What isn’t uncommon, at least for us, is to enjoy ourselves when we travel. Especially in the last year, when a bit of autonomy on their part has made things much easier on my part and more fun for us all. I can’t imagine wanting my kids to stay little forever. What a drag for them and a chore for me! This way is infinitely better. And better.