Two things I hate about vacation – packing to go and packing to come home. I have it down to a science compared to what I once did. I have a very detailed packing list for each bag that goes (one per person, one for bathroom stuff, and one for electronics). Every year I update the list before we leave with new items to pack (i.e Kindle fire,toys change for Sam, and power strips because there are NEVER enough outlets). I then take the packing list with us… the purpose is to check off the items as they come back home and to update it with things I wish I would have brought or had to purchase. I also take pictures of all toys and movies being packed and leave it on my phone, so when we are returning Sam can help me double check his list with a visual versus a list. Every year I place things in the garage in a certain location and Jim knows that everything will be there.
I will never forget the year that my parents and I went to a Quartet Convention in PA. We packed for the trip and were so excited to get there that we…. FORGOT THE LUGGAGE at home. We went to a Kmart and purchased clothes for the weekend. At the time I could wear the same size as my mom so we shared. Too funny, but we didn’t let it dampen our trip. Jim and I have forgotten things on vacation, never our entire suitcases, but my motto is there is a Target or Walmart just about everywhere in driving distance.
The hard part for me and Sam is deciding what “extras” to take. It is always a little struggle for him to leave behind his toys (and we would need a moving van to take them all) and I struggle when he chooses because I know that he will miss something while we are gone (so I often throw them in an extra bag). It was the saving grace when we went toFloridabecause I packed extra toys and it was like Christmas to him to open the bag and see more of his toys. I will give up space in my packing for the needs of the children – that is just what many moms would do (I hope).
The hard part for me is what books (my “extras”) to take. I LOVE to read. I am a non-fiction feed my brain, soul, mind kind of reader. I read to make me think about my life and to make it better. So, I collect books always saying I want to read them and they sit on the shelf, waiting for that day. I have a Kindle and can download books but really prefer a book on the beach mostly for the cost factor – do not want to get sand in my Kindle and as a mom you never know when you will have to drop your book to rescue / help your child. So I had 20 books laid out – like I could get through 3 a day (lol) – and I am slowly dwindling down the number, but it is hard to choose. What if I select the wrong ones or I don’t really like them when I get there? I always take too many but when packing it doesn’t seem enough (= Somehow I think time at the beach multiplies!
What am I NOT packing – at least trying hard to not to take with me? My worries, fears, regrets, failures, struggles, hard feelings, and our jobs! Last year was the first year I remember completely turning the out of office option on for my email and leaving work behind. It I hard for me, but it is what I need to shut out more than ever. Eight years ago at the beach I even accepted a new job. It was the best decision ever made because I made it based on a clear head and heart. Wonder what big decisions may come this year? And why do we just do it once a year – I could use the renewal and shedding of extra baggage on a routine basis (p.s. I could easily convince this family to make a few more trips to the beach).
So what do I hate about the packing to come home? It is leaving the quietness and the simple life. We survive with just the basic and we all are happy. We pack to come back to reality, to work, to demands. This year, however, I am going in with a little different frame of mind. I want this year to focus on myself, my family, and my hopes and dreams for both. On my packing list to return home, I want to have them listed. I am bringing home * that peace I find in the sand, * the calmness of the sunrise and sunset rising above the ocean, * the togetherness we find as we reconnect as a family, * a big peace of the simple life, *a renewed relationship with Christ, * a renewed family, and * a renewed me.
“It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy…Beach Therapy.” – Amy Dykens