June 05, 2006

The Vacationless Vacation of '06

Last week, while I was right here virtually, physically and mentally I was somewhere else entirely. The Vacationless Vacation of '06 to be exact. Now I'm back and I'm sad, feeling sorry for myself while rocking gently back and forth muttering a mantra about my happy place that's doing no good because of the shitload of email that needs answering, voice mail messages that need following up on and other tasks to which I must attend, oh, right about now. Ahhh, the price of taking time off. And it didn't help that my site was down this morning.

Check out the entire set at flickr...

Growing up, my parents and I took spectacular vacations. Since we've been married, Beth and I have always taken at least one good week-long vacation a year. I've slept in castles, driven through Europe, hiked through mountain passes to secluded lakes, and walked the beaches of sun-drenched tropical islands. But I've never had as wonderful a vacation as this one.

You see, I got to hang out with my wife and my daughter. For an entire week. We didn't have big plans. We didn't have traffic to fight or lines to stand in. We just had each other. And it was perfect. No exotic locale could be more appealing than the sight of my daughter smiling and clapping whenever I walked into a room. The only room service I need is the kind Mia delivered when she swatted open the bedroom door, only to stand up and begin laughing in an attempt to get me out of bed (better believe it worked). Fine dining? Who needs it when you've pizza (for us) and an endless supply of Cheerios (for her)? Spending the week with my family was the kind of all-inclusive package I needed.

Throughout my life, I've spent a good chunk of time looking forward to the Next Big Thing. That was always a frustrating way to live, frankly, and in retrospect I might have wasted a lot of time that way. Dadhood has brought me to the realization that I can put away the binoculars and stop looking the the Next Big Thing on the horizon. Because what I've stumbled into over the past ten months is the Biggest and Best Thing. Last week - with my wife and daughter's help - reminded me of that.

It doesn't matter where you go, as long as you've got the ones you love close by.

Posted by Chris at June 5, 2006 08:20 AM

Sounds wonderful. Glad you had such a great week. I'm going to have to share this post with my husband - he too is one of those people that's always looking forward to the Next Big Thing. I think that makes you miss the greatness of right now. (Plus, maybe it will make him even closer to agreeing it's time to have a baby.)

Posted by: Jessie at June 5, 2006 08:32 AM

"Too often are we so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey."

Happy to hear you and yours had a wonderful week. May you have many more to follow!

Posted by: Jennifer at June 5, 2006 09:19 AM

That, is just so beautiful I want to cry.

Posted by: Alice at June 5, 2006 09:21 AM

Sounds like you 3 had a wonderful time :) Doesn't it suck how that work thing has to creep on back and ruin everything!?!

Posted by: Michelle at June 5, 2006 09:24 AM

welcome back, sounds like you and the fam had a great week and got to do a lot of cool things. I'm counting down till 4th of July week '06, thats when I'm escaping this gig we call work.

Posted by: E at June 5, 2006 09:35 AM

Sounds like the perfect vacation. I have found that we have just as much fun, if not more, doing things like having a campfire in the back yard than going somewhere for some big thing - that usuallly winds up causing a lot of money and creating a lot of aggravation.
Sorry about the work catchup - that's why I don't take vacations. ;)

Posted by: Traci at June 5, 2006 09:44 AM

Sounds like a good time.

Posted by: Bill at June 5, 2006 09:56 AM

Sweet. :)

Posted by: Alison at June 5, 2006 10:00 AM

You're so right! Who was it who said "happiness isn't having what you want. It's wanting what you have". I think you're living proof.

Posted by: wordgirl at June 5, 2006 10:00 AM

sounds like a wonderful vacation.

Posted by: suze at June 5, 2006 10:00 AM

Sounds like you had a great week! And I'm sure Beth enjoyed the company and help to take away from the usual routine!

I tried to post on Beth's site but it blocked me (damn, you have one PMS'sy day and you're blocked forever) but I just wanted to let her know that Mia looked adorable in her peasant skirt and that if you add a giant box tipped on it's side to the water bottle, Mia will be enthralled for hours! "look mom, a cave and water! Just add blankets and dad and I can live in here!"

Posted by: Randi at June 5, 2006 10:06 AM

I hate you.

Posted by: shelley at June 5, 2006 10:12 AM

What a lovely and contented post. I'm glad you are so happy.

Posted by: bad penguin at June 5, 2006 10:13 AM

Okay, I don't really hate you. I'm just bitter. Bitter and jealous. And petty. Very, very petty. I only sort of hate you.

Posted by: shelley at June 5, 2006 10:20 AM

Loved. This.

Posted by: Kelly at June 5, 2006 10:39 AM

Isn't it nice to slow down and appreciate life?

Posted by: candace at June 5, 2006 10:51 AM

Ahhh, words to live by. By which to live? Whatever. Great post. Although I'm still waiting for a great vacation to a big, bad place. Sadly, I think it may be too late. Such is life.

Posted by: catbird at June 5, 2006 11:09 AM

I'm glad you had a good week, sorry you have to catch up now. I always hated that part.

Posted by: Kate the Shrew at June 5, 2006 11:17 AM

Agreed. 100%. And those stay-at-home vacations? Totally what the Doctor ordered most of the time. And think of all the money you saved!

Posted by: Bethany at June 5, 2006 11:39 AM

Where ever you go, there you are!

Beautiful post. So happy to hear you enjoyed your vacation.

Posted by: VirgoJen at June 5, 2006 12:08 PM

That's sweet. And I understand "the next big thing." On occasion I still get a little bit of that--but now the next big thing usually entails a nice garden and my 10 year class reunion ;-)

Posted by: Ginny at June 5, 2006 12:27 PM

How sweet and so well put!

Posted by: Magnolia Mom at June 5, 2006 12:36 PM

Awww...Sweet. My husband just started working from home and I just started staying home from work part-time and days like today where we're both home with Button are just the best.

Of course, it's 11:45 and she just went down for her 9:00 nap like 5 minutes ago, so occasionally my nerves are a little frayed...but I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

Posted by: SMIT at June 5, 2006 12:48 PM

This time next year, pizza for everyone.

If she's anything like mine were, she'll eat the top and leave the crust.

Best kind of vacation sometimes, especially with a little one. You have plenty of time for the Grand Tour when she's old enough to appreciate it.

Posted by: ann adams at June 5, 2006 01:29 PM

P. S. Blogger is down too or was the last I checked.

It's probably a conspiracy.

Posted by: ann adams at June 5, 2006 01:30 PM

Completely inspiring, Chris. What a lovely post.

Posted by: Janet at June 5, 2006 02:11 PM

"Spending the week with my family was the kind of all-inclusive package I needed."

I love this sentence.

Posted by: mama_tulip at June 5, 2006 02:15 PM

In a word? Awww....

Glad you had a wonderful vacation.

Posted by: Karen at June 5, 2006 02:57 PM

Ah yes, it is definitely nice to remember what's truly important in life. It also helps when you have to go back to work to remember why you have to. I'm so glad the Cactus family had a great week enjoying each other!

Posted by: Beth in StL at June 5, 2006 03:27 PM

Those stacking cups you have in your mouth... They are the best toy ever!!! My daughter started playing with them as soon as she started playing with toys, and still does now at 2 1/2 y.o. I got them at a garage sale for a dime. Best investment ever!

Posted by: ktjrdn at June 5, 2006 03:50 PM

That is so sweet. You almost made me want to spend a week at home with my kids and Hubby. Unfortunetly at 4 years old, my kids would spend all week saying, where are we going today.

Posted by: Melissa at June 5, 2006 03:51 PM

Yes!!! Im so glad you had a great week.

My favorite place ever is our deck. I seem to feel more peaceful and happy there than any place else. Of course, it's really nice if Don is there with me.

Posted by: cas at June 6, 2006 06:56 AM

I am veryglad you guys had a great vacation. Beautiful post, beautiful family. It has a nice fit to it, doesnt it??

Posted by: Kelly M. at June 6, 2006 10:21 AM