My little family and I have never officially taken a family vacation. We initially planned on going to Disney World this year for munchkin however, when we realized we hadn’t quite budgeted like we needed, we explored other options. We decided to take a family roadtrip somewhere nearby like St. Louis or some surrounding areas and landmarks. Some friends of ours recently moved to Panama City Beach Florida and had invited us down but with the distance we were uncertain. With a couple of synonymous “go with the flow” comments from multiple people, husband emphatically decided we were leaving last Saturday night after being out with friends all day and no prep. I debated we weren’t prepared and I bought us an additional 24 hours hoping to discuss and further plan/prepare. Originally I only wanted to go anywhere for a mere 3 days and have time to veg out at home on our last week of full official vacation, this seemingly adamant desire would later be disproved.
Lesson #1 I am a control freak.
When I awoke the next morning to my munchkin yelling “Mommy!!!! Daddy wants to know where blah blah blah is…” after falling asleep on the couch the night before laptop on I woke up to what appeared to be seemingly a world-wind or construction zone. Beeping, swirling, noise, lights, our puppy Brownlie yelping to get out of his cage and more. Now this may also be from a startled awaken perspective prior to coffee from a sleep deprived night of 3.5 hours of sleep, but nonetheless. I explored our home to find my husband in full prep swing washing, huge piles of clothing, packing, and picking out my daughter’s clothes. On the one hand this was super sweet, there he was taking initiative and I was about to deflate his proverbial balloon of excitement because I just couldn’t take him making all of these decisions without my “help” (approval if I’m honest). It appeared as though even though I’d bought an additional 24 hours from my demanding husband we were officially going to Florida.
Lesson #2 No matter how detailed your checklist is, you’ll always make adjustments.
After attending to multiple issues we got on the road at 4:50 am a far cry from the 3 am time-frame we agreed upon. Those two got rest but me, I was up buzzing checking off to do lists, trying to make sure everything was prepped and of course later I would still need to go back to Walmart in Florida! The ride in started off wonderful, lots of singing and smiles as munchkin slept most of the way for the exception of us waking her up to see the occasional interesting things. Against hubby’s desire we stopped a few times, and against my own but in accordance with his bladder we made a total of 9 pit stops for snacks and bathroom breaks which deterred our original time by 2.5 hours. We met a nice woman and her three boys who suggested we stop by the Mammoth Cave on our ride and though I almost got lost attempting to find it we were able to take these photos on the outskirts, definitely an unforgettable memory.
Lesson #3 Some of God’s greatest gifts is the sun, a beach, and nice breeze.
After another 7 hours we finally arrived in what by morning would be sunny Panama City Beach Florida. Our friends greeted us with such enthusiasm as we were their first official guests since they moved there only 31 days earlier. We would spend the next 5 days there unabashed to all other cares. Here I thought I’d not be pleased with our setup as we were staying with friends, I also assumed I’d be ready to leave after staying a day or two. They were kind enough to give us their bedroom suite for the week, we laughed, hung out, barbecued, went sight seeing and became unofficial beach bums and it was fantastic! I didn’t even carry my phone most days which is more than odd for ANYONE that knows me.
Lesson #4 Families need to take vacations.
I always knew that I wanted to take vacations, then life happened and that changed some perspectives for me as vacationing is never first on your mind when your finances don’t line up. Gratefully we have had our share of business, church, and local trips we’ve used to make up for lack of going on official vacations but from now on even if we cannot stay the length preferred, even if we have to drive, we will make the best out of everything and get up and go. I guess I’ll have to let my hubby know later he was right but not tonight because it’s 4:23 am and I need to go to bed!