We’ve all been there. That point you reach when you not only want a vacation but you so desperately need one. I was there just recently. You know that tired feeling you get that basically consumes you? And I don’t mean just physically. I’m talking about being mentally, spiritually, and emotionally tired. This was me. Even the thought of forcing my body away from the warmth of the covers in order to begin my day exhausted me. Thankfully, we had already made plans to use some vacation time to visit with friends the week of my birthday. And let me tell you, this one week was exactly what I needed to recharge, regroup, and refocus. I believe that this vacation impacted me so positively because it was different than the norm. Let me tell you how.
- People We could have taken our family to a theme park or a nearby beach or a cabin in the mountains like most normal families do. But have I ever claimed to be normal? What made this vacation one to remember was the people. We decided to visit a couple of our closest friends in Memphis, Tennessee. These people aren’t just any friends. They are our confidants. Our encouragers. Our spiritual supporters. They are our personal breaths of fresh air! No detail was forgotten by them—from surprising us with our favorite goodies to a simple yet thoughtful welcome sign etched in chalk by their front door. We laughed together, cried together, and encouraged one another in our walks with Christ. It’s rare to find people whose hearts are synced with your own, whom you can be your truest, ugliest self around without receiving an ounce of judgment. These are our people. Our squad. Our tribe. This trip would not have been the same without them!
- Purpose Vacationing for us is more than simply physical rest. When we vacation, we are looking for ways to step away from all the mental and emotional stress and focus on nothing but the good! We left the junk at home the best we knew how and determined to let loose and . . . eat ALL the junk food in sight. I know. Stop the insanity! But really, we purposed to leave home at home. And boy was it worth it! I don’t ever want to vacation again without keeping this purpose close to heart.
- Predicaments Let me just say that a real deal vacation is not complete without memorable and laughable moments. And this trip had no shortage of these events. In fact, our last evening was filled with them. It’s as if Memphis knew we would be departing soon and decided to up its game! My friend, her sister, and I took my kids to our favorite place to eat and play—Chick-fil-A. We found a table close to the play place and began scarfing down our delicious meals. This is when the “fun” started. Let’s just say, when children begin to exit the play place as quickly as they entered with furrowed brows and scrunched up mouths and noses, you know something’s not right. And your suspicions are confirmed as the other moms shout out warnings about a puke sighting. Joy. So much for playtime. And, of course, the kids grew restless as we adults attempted to savor every bite of our ah-mazing food all the while trying not to think about the vomit just around the corner. As my youngest was mid-meltdown, out of nowhere a little elderly Asian lady marched right up to my girl and waved her fingers in some mesmerizing fashion across her tiny, whimpering face. We all were instantly frozen, wondering if she just performed some ancient eastern voodoo on my child. Then she proceeded to squeeze my boys’ cheeks and pinch their noses and talk at a speed that didn’t seem humanly possible. Nod and smile is the only reaction I could come up with. So all of us adults just awkwardly laughed and smiled with teeth gritted, none of us knowing quite how to respond to such an event. The good news is all of the crying turned to hysterical laughter and each of the kids received a dollar from our new “friend.” When she finally stepped away, we hurriedly snatched up the kids, packed them in the car, and headed to a different Chick-fil-A for dessert and play time where the fun just kept on going. Between having to clean one poopy bottom with only a single wipe (#momfail) and fishing sunglasses out of a germ-infested toilet that my other child just graced with his fecal matter, it was sure to be a night to remember. Oddly enough, all we could do was laugh. It takes real love to wipe someone else’s child’s rear end and then swim through defecated waters with your bare hand to retrieve sunglasses. TRUE LOVE, people! So maybe all that wasn’t our favorite part of the week, but it certainly was the funniest. The rest of the week was packed full of family fun though. From the Memphis zoo to my kids’ first baseball game, we had a blast. And when all was said and done, we were sad to say goodbye.
This is how we vacation. This to me is the ONLY way to vacation. Oh, I was still physically tired at the end of the week . . . maybe even more so than before, but every other part of me was revived. In the words of my dear friend, Morgan (God bless her for her bravery in the Chick-Fil-A bathroom), we were “gloriously exhausted.” Now, that’s my kind of tired.