Vacations are Hard

Vacations are hard. “What?” you might say. “Vacations are wonderful, vacations are fun, vacations are time away, vacations are family time!” Yes they are all of those things, but they are also hard, and because they are all of those things it is hard to admit that they are hard. It sounds so ungrateful, such a “first world problem.” I am not talking about the usual mom complaints of “vacations are so much work!” or “I need a vacation to recover from our vacation.” I am talking about emotionally hard.

I am so blessed to be able to go on vacations. For a single mom with little income I get to go on vacations way more than seems possible. In this last year, I have gone to my sisters in Santa Barbara, camping in Yosemite, camping at the beach – twice, and multiple day and overnight trips to Mineral King. The year before included trips to New Hampshire, Virginia, Arizona, and New Mexico. Many of these trips are with my parents, which is what makes them possible financially. I love traveling, I love road trips, I love camping, I love hiking, I love getting to share that love with my boy and watching him explore new things. It is wonderful.

“So what could be hard about that?” you ask. While vacations are all those wonderful things, they are also a painful reminder of the fact that I am alone.

In my daily life I have gotten pretty good at being alone or at least pretty used to it. It is just the boy and I, we do our thing and life is good. The feeling that things should be different, that something is missing, has faded, or maybe I have learned to ignore it in the face of everyday life.  But on vacation it isn’t life as usual. Life is slower; it is filled with special moments. All around, families and couples are enjoying their time together. And in the midst of all the vacation happiness, loneliness creeps in.

It is not that I don’t enjoy spending time with my son, or watching his joy as he discovers something new on the beach, I do. But there is a part of me that wants someone to share those moments of family time and discovery with me. Someone who knows what I am thinking when I look up from my son with a smile, who holds MY hand when we walk down the beach, who shows ME something special. Someone who stays up and talks and laughs with me after the boy has gone to bed. Someone who will help me remember these days when the boy is no longer a boy.

I try to fight the loneliness, to be present, and enjoy the moment. With time and intention vacations have gotten a little easier. But there is still nothing I can do to stop that part of my heart from longing for the day that I can share them with someone.

Little Things

So I started this blog with the hope that it would encourage me to write more often…because I need to. So now, instead of thinking “I should write” and going about my day not doing it, I think, “I should write” then go about my day feeling guilty for not doing it.  Mission accomplished.

I have several things I started writing, but wasn’t sure exactly where to go with it, or wasn’t sure how vulnerable I really wanted to be. I will finish them. Soon. I hope. But for today I thought I would throw out some random small thoughts. And ask you some random questions.

1. I hate snakes. We killed one in the yard today. I dreamt about snakes during my afternoon nap.

Is there anything worse to dream about than snakes?

2. I love Fall. A week into October, here in the Central valley, and the weather is finally starting to agree with the calendar, just a little bit. I have worn jeans the last two days. I ate pumpkin bread this morning. I am planning on wearing a new sweater (albeit short sleeved) to church in the morning. Next weekend we are going to a pumpkin patch with a steam train, our favorite October activity.

What is your favorite Fall activity?

3. I love this quote.

“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.” – Andy Rooney

I choose happiness. I choose happiness by delighting in all the little things about Fall (see # 2). I choose happiness when I snuggle with my boy and listen to him chatter about his latest crazy idea. I choose happiness when I go to Starbucks and catch up on my favorite blogs, browse Pinterest, and waste time on Facebook. I choose happy when get to spend time with a friend, when I find something totally awesome on clearance at Target, when I enjoy a delicious meal or an incredible dessert. If I waited for the big things I would be miserable, but instead I “live with quite a bit of happiness”

What makes you happy?

4. This morning I went to a Fostering & Adoption 101 workshop at my church, presented by City Without Orphans. It was an awesome morning; they presented great information, shared amazing stories and gave many people a jumping off point to decide what is right for them and their families. I am in no position to do either. Why would I go to this? Because it has always been in my heart. For a long time, in the back of my mind, I have thought that I would have a couple children of my own and then foster adopt a couple more. So I went to hear the information for myself, and also to know what the processes are so I can support those I know who are going through the process themselves, and as a nurse I feel like it is good to know what options and services are out there and how the system works.

Have ever considered fostering or adopting? I encourage you to pray about it, and don’t be afraid to seek out information. The need is great, and the rewards are eternal.

5. Christmas is coming. I know, I know, I just said Fall finally hit 2 days ago! I HATE that the stores already have Christmas decorations, right next to Halloween decorations. I like to enjoy my seasons one at a time. BUT shopping for the children in my life is done. (yes, yes, I know, you hate me.) But I jumped on some great deals at the JBF sale, and ordered a few things off Amazon. My budget is next to nothing this year, so I am trying to think ahead and get as much bang for my buck as possible. I started on my annual craft project (usually an ornament) for my family members this week. I wanted to get an early start while I have the time off from clinicals for the next few weeks. I don’t want to be cramming for finals and cramming for Christmas at the same time. I still want to come up with some special projects for gifts for my parents, and other in town family, but I have a little more time on those since they don’t have to be mailed.

Have you started thinking about Christmas yet?

6. I am restless.

Are you?

That is it for today. Next time I promise will be a more complete thought.