With three (!) busy summer work schedules and a house under construction, an actual, proper vacation was shoved to the back burner this year. Having spent the better part of the last year working 6 & 7 day weeks, I
wanted needed a few days off. With school related activities starting just a few days after Edie came home from camp, I knew we needed to make the most of those last free days.
And so, as per our usual mode, it was decided by family group text in the days prior to Edie returning home from camp to get away. A quick search of available PATC cabins later, we agreed on Cliff House, situated deep in a holler outside of Elkton, the idea of having no internet or cell phone service for a few days seeming heavenly. Or, at least it seemed heavenly to Pat & I, who made the decision.
Edie girl however, was not as much of a fan of the whole unplugged thing, mostly because she had just spent the previous three and half weeks at camp with limited cell phone service and was really, really looking forward to catching up with friends and not necessarily hanging out in a one room cabin on the side of a mountain deep in a holler with her parents doing nothing all day long. I believe her exact words were, “oh great. It’s like taking a vacation from camp by more camp.” At any rate, she grudgingly joined us with minimal complaint.
She did insist however, we do something other than sit around doing nothing all day, which is how we found ourselves at the Rockingham County Fair just outside of Harrisonburg for a few hours one afternoon. We took in all the exhibits as well as some of the sheep judging competition and funnel cake before heading back to the cabin. That was when we realized that in our quick Monday morning packing, there was exactly one dry towel between the three of us for showering, which as it turns out, reminded us (okay, me) of the time we took a vacation where Pat & Edie shared a t-shirt the entire week (clearly, our impromptu packing skills leave a little something to be desired).
It’s these little details- the one shirt, towel vacations- that make up our children’s childhoods. We only get so many years with them and so we strive to make all the little moments count, only to realize, it’s the things that fall through the cracks that sometimes end up as the things we remember. My girl is starting her senior year in high school and the end of our daily family life as we’ve come know it is staring down its end date.
I recently had a conversation with a friend at the pool about cherishing and appreciating each moment, rather than being aggravated and annoyed in them. I think there’s room for all of those emotions, because some of those moments of raising a child can be annoying while also having that annoyance be cherished. You want them to learn to do things on their own while also missing their dependence on you when they peel away. I’m learning that sending your child into the world is both a sense of accomplishment as well as a wondering who you are as a person if you’re not a mom anymore. Not that you stop being a mom, but the need for you diminishes, shifts into something that doesn’t define your days. I’m staring down that barrel and to be honest, it’s part of why I wanted those few days, just us, unplugged.
Even if we only had one towel.