Let’s face it, working parents. A “family vacation” is a bit of an oxymoron.  Multiple consecutive days on around-the-clock kid duty is wonderful, but not particularly restful.

I admit, by the last day of our seven days at the beach, I was kind of looking forward to being back at the office. Clinic is demanding, but it’s also a respite from what I consider the more difficult job.

I thank God every day for these little ones, of course. We’re lucky, we’re blessed, and we know it. But man, we’re exhausted. And we even had a night of free babysitting from Auntie!

Why is this? How could a week at this gorgeous Maine beach with our two blissed-out children be anything but zen?

Ugh. I recall one blisteringly sunny day on the sand. We’d been there all morning; a fun time was had by all. But, we ran out of snacks and juice boxes, and both kids were showing signs of impending meltdown. Namely, getting irritable and whiney and beating the crap out of each other more than usual.

We called the retreat and they piled into the red wagon to go back up to the house, a few blocks away. But it was too late- they got into a full-out sibling wrestling match.  A whole family just arriving to the beach gathered round to watch as our kids fought, probably not realizing that the harried parents shoving things into bags a few steps away belonged to these wild children.

Hubby was struggling with the umbrella, and he yelled over to me: There’s strangers attending to our kids! Can you get over there?

I marched over in the deep, hot sand, calling out, They’re okay, they’re fine, nothing to see here, folks! I was feeling rather irritable, myself. I grabbed the wagon handle and started the hike, as our lovely little ones alternately screamed and giggled, nearly tipping the wagon, the whole way home. I could almost hear the observers commenting on how little control we adults had over our preschoolers.

Ah, moments to remember. (And, I’m sure they’ll be best friends someday…)

Overall, our family trip was a great break. But, how nice it was to get back to work!

Busy on the beach when it's sunny...
Busy on the beach when it’s sunny…
…and when it's rainy
…and when it’s rainy