Family Summer Vacation Memories
Last week, my family and I packed up the Subaru — coolers of yogurt and Cheez-Its, swimmies for days, bags on bags on bags — and made the four hour trek to a remote New Hampshire lakehouse (quick ‘Five Guys’ pit-stop, included!). It was an extended family getaway; aunts, uncles, cousins, furry friends. Five kids under three-and-a-half. A fridge full of applesauce pouches and Chardonnay. Globs of fishing tackle, a stack of kayaks and a well-worn paddleboat. Cozy sleeping lofts and s’mores by the fire. A bottomless popsicle supply and buggy, muddy hikes. It was a toddler’s playground.
As a mom, it was a vacation I had been looking forward to for awhile. A trip away, a summer sanctuary, a week from the norm. By no means was it a relaxing, kick-your-feet-up, do-what-you-want vacay. I still shoveled half my meals in my mouth while standing up. Still lived (slightly) by the rulebook of naptime and fell asleep to lullabies at 7:00 p.m. I chased kiddos haphazardly through the backyard and trickled warnings of sunburns and water safety and stair climbing. But, that’s my job.
Albeit, vacation did have its quiet moments. And they were delightful. A new chapter read by the dock, a long shower at the end of the day. But through the course of a week, I learned so much about what it means to truly enjoy and to cherish. To capture moments because they’re fleeting; too precious to ignore. I literally saw my two babies grow up a little during that week. My son caught fish, swam with no fear and clearly communicated his wants and desires (more chips, please!). My daughter danced to the beat of her own drum, commanded attention wherever she went and at fifteen months, has suddenly blossomed into her own tiny, chatty being.
During the week away, I saw them. More than I ever have before. They were thrust in a new environment — new place, new rhythm — and just explored. It didn’t matter whether it was the dark depths of the lake dock, or the fun hideaway by the bathroom tub. Every moment was an adventure and that enthusiasm and innocence was contagious. I paid attention. I embraced the excitement of new lawn games and the sheer joy of just-baked chocolate chip cookies. I really did close my eyes to listen to the rain. I played Lego’s, dug in the dirt, and tackled (if you can believe it) a 500-piece puzzle with my little guy. I saw his joy. And it infatuated me.
As hectic and crazy as it is to pack up and go away with littles, it’s a memory. A memory worth making a million times over. I relished in the little things — the simple things. I will always see that raspberry sherbet on Lily’s lips, or hear Nate’s cute voice calling for me up the stairs.
Sometimes, you wonder if you’re doing a good job. You think about all the things you might not do so well, or all the things you’re not doing at all. For me, this trip was about more than lazy raft rides and sweet-smelling pancakes in the morning. It was about being with my children, seeing the days through their eyes and genuinely connecting to their interests. It was messy and loud and far from perfect, but that week was ours.
At the end of it, Nate hugged me and said, “Mama, you’re sweet on me.”
And that was all I needed to hear.
Danielle is a momma to two toddlers — an active and impossibly sweet three-year-old son, and fiercely independent and cuddly one-year-old daughter. She lives in East Sandwich with her babes, husband, an extra-large Great Pyrenees and an overfed cat. When she’s not constructing Play-Doh dinosaurs, buying Goldfish or pushing park swings, she loves to relax at the beach, scour library shelves or take a long walk.
Danielle worked in publishing for 10 years and spent the majority of that time as a lifestyle magazine editor and writer for publications throughout New England. After the birth of her son, she became (mostly!) a stay-at-home-mom, continuing to freelance and work for local Cape libraries. She is now a realtor for William Raveis — Osterville and absolutely loves helping people discover the place they’re truly meant to be. Follow her on Insta! @danielleraciti
Cape Cod Moms