Real Life With Rita: Summer isn’t over yet

I hate that as July comes to a close, we mentally start moving into thoughts of “end of summer”. I’ll be the first to admit our recent spell of hot-hot-humidity has kept me indoors and doing anything BUT enjoying summer, but the reality is we have a solid six weeks of summer-y weather left. However, back-to-school mode is in full swing and marketing has shifted to playing on our love of fall weather. Even Dorothy has been talking about playing in the snow–slow it down, girlie!

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However, I’m still over here loving summertime. Maybe it’s the pregnancy; I can throw on tank tops, flip flops and running shorts and be comfortable very easily. (Bundling up with a belly can be a pain.) Maybe it’s the fact our vacation is still ahead of us. Who knows. Either way, I will say I feel like July went by quickly even though it seemed less eventful than June.

After hosting friends a family 4th of July weekend (and having Mingus home for 4-straight days!), we stayed in a lot. I made visits to a few friends who’ve recently had babies, but, otherwise, we’ve laid low.

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However, this weekend I will be packing up the kids for our first ‘family’ vacation, and I cannot deny the excitement I have for our Myrtle Beach trip. I am actually a little disappointed we are headed out later than planned due to some unexpected training that came up for Husband. The good news, the kids don’t feel that disappointment since they are too young to know the plan for departure anyway. We’ll just head out one day and they’ll be excited!

I suppose it seems natural to be excited over vacation–especially when you haven’t been on one in 4 years; however, the sensation is a little new to me. I did not grow up in a house where the word ‘vacation’ was used much outside of the general ‘summer vacation’ term. Often what we ended up considering a ‘vacation’ was a piggyback off of another planned trip… An extended stay in St. Louis for a family wedding; a week in Arkansas during my brother’s pole vault camp; North Carolina to get acquire a specific breed puppy… The only things close to standard family vacations we had were our Disney World trip, a road trip to Montana for a week of camping, and a beach trip to Florida; although this was with my aunt and cousin, not my father.

Most of my friends took regular summer vacations or spring break trips. I never really envied them or wondered why we couldn’t do such things. I loved my childhood. I loved what I saw as “vacation” and the time I spent with my family. If anything I wondered “why” people went on these trips, because in my mind there had to be purpose outside of it just being “vacation”.

Since being married, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful new family. One thing his parents love is the beach–particularly when it is shared with family. We passed on our opportunity for vacation with them two years ago when they were going to Disney World. I was pregnant with Jacob, Dorothy had just turned one and we had spent the year building the house and were prepping to move in; it felt more stressful to think about a week away than anything.

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This year we are traveling with the Harris family to stay in a condo on Myrtle Beach. It will be our family, his parents and his sister’s family of four. And while I did not grow up taking these kinds of vacations (where there was no ulterior motive for taking time away to travel somewhere as a family), I can say I am truly excited about this trip and am grateful for the opportunity. My gratitude comes so much in knowing that this is something I never would be doing by my own choice. (Ask Mingus to take off work so we can spend a week spending money while taking away from the things he could be getting done at home?? Never!)

I so look forward to seeing my two toddlers experience the beach for the first time. While I know they will love it, I also know Jacob will likely have no memory of the experience and Dorothy’s will be dreamlike if anything. That’s why I feel like this is a gift my in-laws are giving me, more than the kids, because I will have these memories—ones I would, without a doubt, not be getting otherwise. Every stage in these children’s lives is precious. It all bring so much joy to my life and I just cannot savor enough. The way they respond and react to everything; the things they say; their levels of excitement. Seeing them experience the beach at this age is a moment in time I get to capture that I won’t ever get again at any point in my life—an experience, that without my mother-in-law and father-in-law—I would never have.

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I am well aware this won’t be quite a ‘vacation’ like it was for Husband and I when we went with them to the beach in 2012 and were newly married with no kids. It will be work. It will be crazy and tiring, but luckily we’ll have the help of others and playmates for the kids.

I am grateful that I was brought up with the mindset that vacations were not something to be expected or something to be taken for granted; however, I am also grateful for a new family that has taught me that there is nothing wrong with taking time out to step away from ‘regular’ life and capture priceless memories with those you love most. Life is short and it’s what we make it. It’s important to spend your time feeling happy—whatever that is for you.  If that is being home, traveling—maybe even working—that is OK. Just do what makes you happy with the time you have here–and spend it with the people who matter.

Also, be sure to check out my July Vlog here!

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