Living through a vacation that doesn’t go exactly as planned

When you vacation in the Midwest you’re always taking a gamble with the weather. Despite that, we take the chance on less-than-perfect conditions every year because of the family and history involved with visiting a place that four generations have come to. So while the weather hasn’t been as bad as it could be, it has not been exactly a fun-in-the-sun vacation. The weather has been unpredictable and rainy.

If it was just the weather we were battling I wouldn’t be complaining, but there’s always something more, isn’t there? The littlest of our crew started the trip out with a small cough. We weren’t worried, he’s teething and snotty and he had no fever so we kept our plans. After having a great first night and a lovely second day spent with far-flung family we rarely see, things started going downhill. We ended up in the ER to rule out pneumonia and RSV and help him breathe a little better.

So by Sunday afternoon I was fairly over vacation and we had another five days ahead of us. I was in a small cabin with a baby who could not lie down without choking on his cough, a 2-year-old that simply could not entertain herself, and a grumpy family because they could not swim. Hmmph.

No one would have faulted me for going home. Throwing in the towel and taking everyone back that afternoon. As I paced the small cabin desperately trying to get a baby who was overtired beyond exhaustion while hopped up on steroids I thought, NO. Our reactions are what makes the event and I refuse to not enjoy this vacation.

So I grabbed my Kindle, a pillow and blanket and headed to the hammock over the lake. If I was going to have to lie in bed and hold a sick baby upright so he could cough, we were going to do it under the blue skies and majestic pines. We were going to listen to the lake waves on the shore. We were going to enjoy the whistling and whooping call of the loons across the lake.

I laid there and took it all in as the baby finally settled down and his breathing relaxed. I watched the kids play on the beach and my husband fish on the pier. I took it all in and actually vacationed, I relaxed and did nothing. I almost never do that, do nothing. If we had gone home I would have worn the baby in a carrier and gone about the day-to-day business of cleaning and scrubbing, running kids around. Getting sick on vacation gave me an excuse to do just lie around in a hammock, read a book, and take stock of how lucky we are.

It was not the perfect vacation we panned.

I have not gone into the water once, no kayaking and only one boat ride. I have, however, gotten to spend every afternoon in a hammock, cuddling my forever baby and watching as my other kids grow up before my eyes, casting their lines into the water, running across the beach and playing in the sand. So it was not the vacation we had planned, but it was perfect nonetheless.

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