I’m dating myself with this reference, but I feel as though I departed the beautiful mountains of New Zealand to land smack in the Friends episode when the coffee-shop group goes on a week beach vacation. Only it rains the majority of the week. On their last, and only, nice day they finally take advantage of the beach and Monica gets stung by a jellyfish leading to Joey peeing on her leg.
After 43 hours of travelling which included: one cancelled flight, getting stuck in security behind one Hari krishna monk with full orange robes and a strapped-on, full chest wrap containing approximately 20 different metal pens, doing a full-out, 7am sprint through Dulles to catch the Norfolk connector, and making it out of the Norfolk airport fifteen minutes before the entire place shut down for the President’s arrival, I finally joined my family and in-laws to settle in for a week beach vacation in the Outter Banks. Only my father and mother-in-law ended up babysitting my sick child while I was in New Zealand, and during the week my sister-in-law got food poisoning, my brother-in-law got a sand-and-water induced ear infection, my husband caught a cold and some how lost all of his underwear, and it rained or was debilitating hot for the majority of the week, much to the chagrin of my two-year-old. I believe the only one who was perfectly content was my husband’s 93-year-old grandfather who watched the British Open, its play only broken by the ADD-like updates of the financial channel. I’m ready to be home tomorrow – but despite it all, I had a wonderful time.
After these last two weeks, I realize that parenthood and traveling have more in common than I ever realized. You plan with care and with all the best intentions, but in the end you are simply at the whim of planes, of your child’s mood, of a bad chicken sandwich, of life. When we plan, God laughs. Thankfully, we can laugh, too. What saved this beach vacation is that we laughed together as a family and recognized that sometimes the beach is, well, a beach. The rain will end eventually, even if your two-year-old has you doubting if it ever will. In the meantime, I suggest we relax, find a way to enjoy the ride and know that we’ll get where we are going eventually. But don’t forget to buckle up as it can be quite the bumpy ride – oh, and I’d suggest passing on the chicken sandwich or getting stung by a jellyfish.