Friday, August 19, 2011

The Vacation Post

So, here we are, nearly four weeks since we returned from vacation. Sorry it's taken me so long to get around to this entry. I wanted to wait until I had our vacation photos online before posting again, and getting those adjusted, culled, and uploaded took until yesterday. Also, I wanted to leave some time to gain a little perspective.

Remember my last post? We were looking forward to so much rest, so much relaxation. And there was some, but not nearly so much as we had hoped. Part of the problem, no doubt, was the expectation. Last year we went into our vacation hoping for the best, but fully aware that it could be a disaster. It went so much better than we had even hoped that we went into this year's with high expectations. Don't get me wrong, it was not a disaster; we did have a very good time. The thing is, two and a half year olds are very big on routine, and Ben did not react well to being taken out of his. One and a half year olds aren't too happy about being removed from their routines either, but last year Ben was a little easier to just pick up and drag along to the next stop. He wasn't even talking yet. I had so looked forward, this time, to hearing his reaction to the fun things we were doing. Trouble was, his reaction was largely negative. He knows what he likes to do, and he isn't real big on trying new things, even if we know that he will probably enjoy them. For instance, we got him to the beach exactly once. He wouldn't even go near the water. Last year he loved it, but this year he was grumpy when we went the first time and so had no desire to try again. Thankfully, he did like the pool. He didn't swim in the ocean at all this year, but he was in the pool at least once a day, every day (well, except for the day we went to Nantucket, but I'll get to that). Of course, once he decided he liked the pool, that was all he wanted to do. That, and watch TV.

And then there was that day we went to Nantucket. I hadn't seen my grandma in a year, my grandpa in two years, and I don't even remember for sure how long it had been since I'd been to their house, so I was very happy we were making the trip. I was also excited to see how Ben would react to his very first boat ride. He enjoyed it, mostly, though he would have preferred to have free run of the place. And we all would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't been so windy and so choppy. As I said, it had been a long time since I'd been to Nantucket; I didn't used to get seasick. I do now. We all had a very good time that day, Ben included, but we were even further removed from any sort of routine, so Ben did not nap, and he got to bed late, and by the end of the day we were all exhausted (and a little grumpy).

Though I think Ben napped every day except the Nantucket day, he went to bed late on several occasions, and so he got progressively less accommodating throughout the week. It didn't help that the week had started with him practically staying up all night. The whole idea of leaving in the middle of the night was that he would only barely wake up between crib and car seat and so sleep for most of the trip. But he did not sleep. He didn't fuss, which was a blessing, but he didn't sleep. He just sat and stared out the window. About a half hour before sunrise he finally did nod off, but that ended as soon as the sun came up. So, right off the bat, he was over tired (as were Karin and I, since we didn't really sleep at all either).

Three paragraphs of negative reactions would probably lead you to believe we had a terrible time, but you'd be wrong. And that's the big reason this post is so long in coming. Upon arriving home, we were all very tired, possibly more so than when we left. So the memory of the week was colored by the exhaustion. Looking back now, it's easier to remember all the fun we did have, even if it wasn't especially relaxing fun.

This year's photoset comes in at just over half the size of last year's (43 vs. 83), and of those, 17 are of Ben in the pool. It may have superseded some of the (theoretically more interesting) activities that we had planned, but watching Ben fall in love with the water was wonderful.  I've been a swimmer my entire life, and am ashamed of how little chance I have given Ben to be in the pool so far. So seeing him take to the water like a fish was a lot of fun for me. With his fancy little floaty on, he was fearless (which is a little worrying; I might prefer a little healthy fear of water, since he can't actually swim yet). By the end of the week he was kicking from place to place on his own and jumping off the lower rungs of the ladder.

Seeing my family was wonderful, too. The day we went to Nantucket we had four generations of of Rezendeses in the same room. As far as I know, that's only the second time this generation that that has happened (in name; all of my cousins that have kids are girls, so have changed their names). The last time it would have happened before my dad's wedding two years ago was when his paternal grandfather was alive and I was but an infant. And Ben just absolutely loves his Uncle Casey, "Ape Ape," Nana and Papa, Mimi and GumJoe and Shan, and "Kiss and Hawy." Plus, having all those people around meant that Karin and I did get some quality time to ourselves. We took a walk on Nantucket, spent a morning at the beach, had a romantic dinner, and went to see Harry Potter and Captain America (not back to back).

So all in all, we did have a great time. The problem, really, is that coming home from vacation is always hard, but you hope to be refreshed and ready to deal with the transition back to real life; we came home tired, so that transition was doubly hard. Not to mention the fact that Karin and I spent pretty much a solid week in each other's company. With my job now, the best we usually do during the week is to get an hour or so in passing. After three and a half months, we'd started to get used to the schedule, but being thrust back into it after having the joy of spending almost 24 hours a day together, for nine days, made it that much harder again. But we're coping, and we're looking forward to next year, because we're sincerely hoping that two and a half will be the hardest age to go on vacation with. Right?

After all that, I almost forgot the link to the pictures. The two photos you see above and 41 others are on Flickr: Vacation 2011.