Spring has FINALLY arrived. You know what that means, my friends? Time for vacation planning! And with the promise of a sun-filled week sometime in my conceivable future, I can’t help but remember vacations past. Especially the first time my girlfriends and I took a trip together with our babies.
That first post–kids trip? In no way did it go as planned. But it did deliver everything we didn’t know we needed.
Indulge me as I take a trip down memory lane and share with you the story of my friends and I awakening as moms.
The crew: Four best friends since middle and high school. Which parlayed into being thick as thieves in college.
The details: A meticulously planned beach trip with not just the babies, but also some of our own moms as well! A condo was secured, a photographer hired, toys rented, restaurant reservations made. The girls were coming in from every corner of the country!
The feeling: We hadn’t been together as a group in at least two years. Just being back as a tribe was enough to convince us it would be the best damn trip any of us had taken in ages.
The reality: It was four besties, three grandmas. With FIVE LITTLES RUNNING THE PROGRAM. We weren’t on vacation. We were in chaos with sand.
Oh my stars, that trip – no doubt one of the most stressful. EVER.
Maybe if we weren’t on our first round of kids, we would have had a better idea of what to expect. Maybe if the kids weren’t so YOUNG, it would have been easier.
But there we were. Four overly tired soulmates, all dealing with other BIG issues outside of our children. Children who were acting – shockingly! – like children.
This vacation was supposed to help us recapture our pre-baby days. We were going to cast off our mom hats and find solace in each other. I honestly think we believed our own mothers would simply step up and claim full-time babysitter duty during their own (well deserved, mind you) vacations.
The truth: My friends and I were naïve, glassy-eyed and still trying absorb the monumental shift in our worlds.
And we all realized during this vacation that being a mom trumps everything. That there is no ‘vacation’ from being a parent.
We were forced to acknowledge that we couldn’t simply morph into our younger selves. At least during a week with the kids (wink! wink!). Being together as moms was a completely different dynamic than any we had encountered.
Gab sessions were interrupted to mitigate tantrums. Nightcaps replaced by bedtime stories. Sunbathing overridden to chase after naked toddlers. We had to embrace the fun-zapper that is responsibility. It sucked.
However, there is something pretty special about watching the people who shaped your childhood execute their most important role to date: that of a mother. To know that their offspring are getting the very best of parents. And to recognize that each mom is imparting the unique traits you love so much about them on those babies.
That vacation commenced with tear filled goodbyes. But it also ended with all of us repeating over and over to the other what “AMAZING MOMS” we thought each was. We ALL gravitated back to that mantra. Maybe because we knew the other needed to hear it. Mostly, though, because it was wholly true.
So yes, that first trip was painful. But it gifted me with something I didn’t know I needed.
My spirit was desperate to hear the words of praise and comfort I received from those I’d always respected most. We all needed to witness the pride and love shining from our friends’ eyes as we battled, cuddled, coaxed and nourished our progeny.
We’ve had other vacations with the kids since then. The reality? The difficulty is dwindling. The babies aren’t babies anymore. We mammas are a tad wiser and a lot less anxious. But each time together fills a space inside that only the best of friends can replenish.
As you make your vacation plans, I highly recommend reaching out to your girls – whether they live down the street or across the country. Even a few days together does the mind – and body – SO MUCH GOOD. Just be sure to tell those who are mammas how amazing they’re doing! And when you hear it back? Know it’s from the heart and welcome it into yours.