Please accept my apologies for getting behind on this blog. And for the somewhat misleading title of this post.
I haven't just returned from the perfect family vacation (though I did do some reconnaissance on family-friendly resorts, which I'll share with you soon). However, I do have some thoughts on what would be the perfect vacation for both recuperation and family time.
My mom and I have been on our first mother-daughter holiday to Turks and Caicos. Not since her Switzerland wedding to my step-father, Roy, have Mom and I been away together, and of course that was with other family members. Occasionally we'll snag a night in a hotel when she's coming through town on business, and when I was in university I'd sometimes steal away to Montreal or New York to join her. But during most of my adult life, we've lived across the country from each other and most of our time together has occurred in her city or mine, where jobs, children and household responsibilities have competed with our quality time.
This week of walking the beach and reading novels side-by-side on lounge chairs provided us both with a great opportunity to rest and enjoy each others' company. We'd stumble upon conversations about our family history. The way her mother used to make butter each week using an apparatus that fit into the washing machine in place of the agitator. The tuberculosis status that led my great-great-uncle to establish one branch of our Irish family in Australia instead of Canada. The great-grandfather who went back to Ireland for a wife and brought one back for his brother as well.
Just as importantly, we got a chance to share and reflect on the things currently going on in our lives, hopes for the future, and the seasons of content and discontent that are part of the normal ebb and flow of life. It was the kind of trip we'll always remember.
I've never been away from the kids for more than a few days, and I think the rest I got on this trip has recharged me in a way that will help me keep my cool and be in-the-moment with with them.
But I'll admit that I did have pangs - particularly toward the end - when I saw families playing on the beach together. In my dream world, I'd spend five adult-only days in a warm destination before having Cameron and Alister magically airlifted to my side for a few days of sandcastles. By then I'd have had read a couple of novels and enjoyed a few umbrella drinks, making me entirely ready to ferry buckets of water from ocean to moat, slather crinkled-up faces with sunscreen and coax decent restaurant behaviour from my toddler.
One can dream, right?
Meanwhile, if you're yearning for a family getaway, check out our last-minute travel article. If you're attempting the drive to Florida (brave you!), here are 10 tips to get you to the amusement parks alive. And if it's some adult-time you need, here's how to plan some March break fun for moms.