March 13, 2009

don’t forget a sense of humor

Traveling with your family can be a test of patience, planning, and practice. It doesn’t matter how far you are going. It could be a 3 hour car ride, or a 20 hour plane ride…it is all stressful and hopefully all worth the effort.

Last week our family headed to Florida for 3 days to visit my in-laws. Not exactly a month long trek to India, but a family vacation nonetheless. It had been a while since the four of us packed up, took a flight, and went away as a family. The economy, our family size, and lack of free time have really put a dent in our “family vacations.”

What I had forgotten in our lapse of traveling is how it takes almost twice as long to pack as it does to travel. Diapers? Warm clothes? Cold clothes? Spare shoes? Bathing suits? It is overwhelming to try to cover all your bases and make sure you have every necessity you could possibly need. Not to mention, with all the extra charges the airlines are heaping on, it could double your cost of the trip if you wanted to bring enough diapers, wipes, socks, hats, swim goggles, floaties (you get the picture) to get you through the trip.

Years ago, pre-kids, my cousin got married in Mexico. It was a wonderful wedding, but one planned by two people who did not have any idea what it would be like to travel with kids to a remote location in Mexico. I have to admit, I didn’t even have a sense that not being able to keep milk cold, wash clothes, or buy fresh fruit could really ruin a vacation. I was still of the era where running out of Corona or Tequila would ruin my vacation.

The sister of the groom, however, knew exactly how hard it would be to travel 8 months pregnant with a 15 month old in tow. I don’t want to take away from the wonderful wedding, but cockroaches in the bathtubs, rusty water, and no food service between the hours of 7pm and 10am could really do a mother in. But it didn’t. She laughed, she smiled, and she honestly enjoyed herself.

So as I was preparing to go to Florida (hardly a remote location) I kept thinking about what was the most essential item to pack. And thank goodness, I remembered it. A sense of humor. Following the sister of the groom’s lead I was able to laugh off the little setbacks that we experienced on our trip. No shoes for the little girl? No problem. Stomach bug for the little boy? We’ll get by. Rainy day in a senior citizen community with nothing to do? We can handle it. Luckily for me, there was no shortage of Corona, Tequila OR a sense of humor on this trip. And a good vacation was had by all.