Vacation. I read something recently about the importance of distinguishing between a vacation with one’s spouse and a family vacation. (If you read this too, please send me the source so I can attribute it correctly.) The basic idea was to have clear expectations. Don’t go on a family vacation and expect to have dinner out with your spouse and hours to disengage.
So here we are on vacation. We’ve done a fair amount of divide-and-conquer. I fell asleep; Sam took everyone to the pool. He went for a run; when he got back, I took mine. When several children were DONE with the hike, and one wanted to go on, he took the dissenters back, and I went on with J. Today, he gave me an appointment at the spa for a massage, and he took the kids to the pool.
But there’s a fair amount of togetherness too: several days in the car (such an American phenomenon) while children ask “Are we there yet?”, watching Madagascar 3 together on the couch; meals and walks and an expedition to the grocery store to buy SweetP’s baptism anniversary cupcakes. (The rest of us were enticed by the cream puffs and chocolate squares, but I always make cupcakes, so she was determined to have cupcakes and, in the end, chose the buttercream-frosted cupcakes with “I love you, Mom” emblazoned on the top.)
Folks tell me that in a year or two, the children will be ready to stay for a few hours without us, and we will actually get out for a nice dinner together. For the present we are reconciled to hikes with whiners and snuggles in the morning.