Monday, January 9, 2012

Vacation

I’m Baaaaaack….

Yes, here I am...another year has begun. I hope everyone had an amazing holiday.

So where have I been??? Well I always think a picture is worth a 1000 words so here it goes....


Ahh...yes....VACATION.

It’s actually amazing to me how much the word “Vacation” has changed over my 3 decades. As a kid, vacation meant fun family trips, Disney, beaches…anywhere with a large store where you could get t-shirts or a snow globe. Of course vacations were awesome because you could buy every souvenir in the gift shop, ride every ride in the amusement park, and never even think about the fact this trip actually had to be paid for. Trust me a hot fudge sundae in a fancy hotel tastes much sweeter when someone else is footing the bill.

In my early 20’s vacations simply meant breaks from school. A law student has limited income and therefore I couldn't afford to go anywhere. But in all honesty, it didn't matter. Vacation for me was simply anytime I didn't have to crack open a book.

My late 20's brought the romantic getaways with my boyfriend, who became my fiancé, who became my husband. The time frame of, "sure this vacation is costing us a lot of money but hell, we're young, we're in love, so pop open another bottle wine and let Visa pick up the tab".

And then came the kids…and once again vacations have changed. Now I’m the one footing the bill for the floppy ear hat or the t-shirt from the gift shop that will only fit the day before its washed. I’m the tour director having to find a location to please a Diva 5 year old, an all-boy 4 year old, and an active toddler. I’m also the one that has to figure out how to best use every square inch of a Dodge Caravan so we can bring the 3 American Girl Dolls, the 5 stuffed animals, cooler full of Capri Suns and fruit cups, and oh yeah the stuff we actually need.

I actually break up my vacations at work into two separate vacations: a week in the summer where my family travels and a week after Christmas where I treat myself to a true luxury for me...a staycation. I know you must be thinking I'm crazy for staying home in Iowa in the middle of winter. But in all honesty just being able to be home, run errands with no time clock, sleep in, and get to cross out the "working" in front of "working Mom" for a week is worth more to me than the swankiest resort.

And so that’s what I did. I celebrated the last week of 2011 in the comfort of my home. And boy did I have a lot to celebrate. I made it through my first year of partnership, made it through watching my baby learn to walk, survived sending my first born to kindergarten, and simply made it through another year of the never ending struggle of work-life balance.

So I spent a week away from the headaches of work, with only a few short breaks in my day to keep my emails in check. I kept off social networking sites, hardly perused my standard gossip columns and just enjoyed living the role I am the most comfortable in, Mommy. Sure, we planned an overnight trip, attended a fun New Year’s party, went ice skating and bowling, but most often we were simply at home. And I’ll tell you it was just what the doctor ordered. Dorothy is right my friends, there really is no place like HOME. (And footnote: As you can see my staycation truly inspired even the decorating of my family room!)

I think as an attorney vacations are naturally more precious. In a job where billable hours govern, deadlines are king, and paperwork towers over you it’s very important to take time to get away. The work part of my life could consume me if I let it. I have enough work to be able to work 24 hours a day and still not be up to date on everything. My job is fast paced, high volume, and often high stress. And take that and mix in everything that goes along with raising three young children and...well you get the idea.

I had the best week, and honestly we didn’t do much. My favorite moments were our pajama lazy days just curled up on the couch together. My kids and I of course had a ton of toys to build and play with compliments of Santa and family. With sleeping in, no classes to run to, and no late night brief writing, everyone was in the perfect mood. My house was clean, we played for hours, and yes I am happy to report not one meal came from the crock pot.

My staycation always gives me a renewed perspective on life and allows me to really cherish my blessings. My favorite moment of Christmas break was very simple yet powerful. Recently, my children and I have started to attend church. For years I’ve been on this quest to find a perfect church for my family to grow in, but with the terrible two’s and antsy babies we did the standard “holiday churching" that my family did growing up. Sorry but even my strong faith could not get me into a busy church with a screaming baby (no crying room wall is sound proof enough for a colickly H). But now that 2 of my 3 are past the roller coaster toddler years I knew it was time for us to get back into this. So we started going to church weekly and the past month has been amazing. My kids and I have found a perfect home in our church. The children love Sunday school, they hug our Pastor on the way out of church as if they have known him for years, J belted out Away in the Manger in the Christmas program…everything has just fallen in place. So Christmas Eve I decided to head home from my parents’ house early and take the kids to their first candlelight Christmas service. With L being exhausted from the days events, J, H, and I walked into our church and got ready for the service. During the service the lights were turned out and we sang Silent Night by candlelight. There by candlelight I got a chance to really feel Christmas. It was beautiful. In that quiet moment I was able to just get back to what is truly important in life.

And that’s what this vacation was to me, a simple time to exhale and ready myself for the year ahead. Of course it was absolutely crazy coming back. I may take a vacation every now and then, but my work certainly never does…mail piles up, phone calls are missed, and so getting back into the swing of things after a rest is always hard. But alas that is a blog for another day.

So here we go 2012…I’m ready…I’m set…let’s go.

Mandi

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