Last year, my blog basically stalled around a post about our first vacation without Shannon. So, while I am trying to revive myself into more often check-ins, it’s a bit ominous that my 2nd post back…is about vacation again. Just need to make sure I plan something on the other side of vacation to keep this going…
In any case, the Hamilton Family is going on vacation again. To Ocean City again. So, why is this post worthy?
I’m doing it solo.
I planned it this way, but we’re going for 5 days, just me and the kids. This way, I can prove to myself that taking the kids on a long trip by myself CAN be done. I mean, it sounds like a slam dunk, no brainer…I keep the kids all the time by myself, we do plenty of things by ourselves, so this should be a piece of cake…
But then, I start thinking of all the “exceptions” that come up on vacations:
– Amusement Park Rides – While I’ve discovered I apparently have two thrill seekers on my hands who might be willing to ride more roller coasters than I can, I also have two kids separated in height by 10 inches. So, there is a class of rides that Noah can do, but Darcy can’t. Our option there is either Noah goes solo, or we don’t go. Also, there’s the Bat House. This is the legendary Haunted House on the OC boardwalk…it’s really not that scary of a ride, but for 2 years now, Darcy has been obsessed with trying to ride this thing…only to freeze up when walking up to the entrance. I anticipate the same dance this year, only that if Noah wants to ride it, again we have the same issue…
– Bathrooms – This has become a concern even when not on vacation, but given that we are going to a VERY populated place with lots of crowds…Darcy has gotten to the age where she wants to go in the Women’s bathroom primarily. This obvious presents a pretty big challenge because I have to wait outside and hope that she doesn’t walk out half naked saying “Dad, I need some help…”, also because if Noah has to go to the bathroom, I would have to weigh letting him go to the Men’s bathroom without me within direct proximity. You can see why I like family restrooms more than anything!
– The Ocean – The kids love boogie boarding. And they have much improved on their swimming. Still…I am one person, watching two kids trying to ride waves in a wide open ocean. I should be fine on this one, but it definitely means I probably will be playing more lifeguard than boarding with them.
– Tantrums – This actually came up last year when we went, but because I was with others, I was able to handle it better/differently. Darcy has a penchant for going nuclear when I won’t give in to her ways. FULL. BLOWN. So, when I’m out with the kids by myself, what are my options? I could ride it out, but then she’s making a scene and I am limiting my options to redirect her attention and calm her. I could give in….but yeah, not going to do that, because that’s just setting up for future problems. So, my last option? Walking out. But, then I create a Noah tantrum when he gets upset about missing something HE wants to do because of Darcy. Also, she has definitely read into this and has even started doing it sometimes when she doesn’t want to do something Noah wants to do. That girl can be a master manipulator, I’m telling you (So can Noah too, but more in that he manipulates Darcy into making a choice or agreeing to something so he can get his way)
I think that’s a pretty good sampling of the things making me nervous for this vacation. That, and my crazy plan to take the kids canoeing/kayaking on the Pocomoke River while we are there…Now that they are at least a bit swimming literate, I want to see how they do on the water in a small boat. But I get a feeling one, or both of them, or ALL of us, is going to end up in the water at least once.
But, this is what I want. I could’ve had people go down with me, I’m sure. I always have offers for help on these things. But if anyone knows me, at least the me from these past 17 months, they know that I’m always looking for the opportunity to prove I can do it on my own. I did this with snowtubing this past year. I knew it would be easier if I had another adult or two with me, but I wanted to show myself that I CAN handle this. That way, a whole new world of possibilities open up. This won’t be the last trip the kids want to take. Shoot, when I ask Noah what he wants to do for a DAY TRIP, he’s throwing out things like “Go to Maine” or “Go to Tennessee” or “Go to Alaska!” (The boy needs some work on geography if thinks ANY of those is a day trip). But, we’ve talked about New York in the past…and I keep talking about going to Carolina, for multiple reasons (Shannon’s grandparents, Erin, spreading Shannon’s ashes at Carolina Beach, NC)…and I want to make sure these kids have the adventures that Shannon always loved taking. I remember when Shannon planned our trip to Maine. Her one criteria: we go somewhere we’ve never been before. She had three places picked out, all of which were brand new territory for us. And at some point, I want to take the road trip she always wanted to take…make sure these kids get to see the rest of the country.
I know I can do it. I know it will be fine. I know that, if I get into a situation that might involve too much difficulty, I am going to overplan the stuffing out of it and make it into a non-issue. But I am still nervous/excited to clear this hurdle, and prove that when I take any of the trips I mentioned above, I will feel like a veteran at solo kids trips.
Baby steps. It all starts with baby steps. And the first one? Going to OC, MD by ourselves. Wish us luck, say a prayer…the Hamiltons are coming to OC.