Beach Vacation With Our Toddler – What Were We Thinking?!

As I’m packing up our car for our family beach vacation, tucking items in every little corner, under each seat and in the roof cargo carrier, I ask myself the question most parents with small children ask: How much stuff does this kid need?!

Of course, the reality is that she doesn’t “need” most of it but rather it’s our attempt as parents to our almost two-year daughter to be prepared for any possible scenario…..and provide opportunities to create fun, meaningful, “perfect” memories that we will cherish forever.

Then hits the reality of the endless chasing, sand eating, can’t sit still, temper tantrum and downright tiring days. My wife and I will look at each other with those eyes that say, “What were we thinking?  This is exhausting!”  But we also know that there will be many laughs, hugs, pictures and all around sweet moments together.  The combination of these not-so-perfect moments with the unplanned amazing moments, will not only strengthen our bond as a family, but turn into some of the best memories of our trip together.

Too often we consume ourselves with planning the perfect occasion or vacation and get upset when things don’t go as planned.  We say things we don’t mean or act in anger when we know we are better. We forget that these imperfect moments are what may become some of our fondest memories of our time together as family or friends.  Some of my greatest childhood memories with my dad involve trips where the boat sank, the tent blew away and the raccoons stole our food at the campsite.  In the moment, we weren’t very happy about what was happening, but now they are the fun memories I still talk about today.

What are your plans for the rest of this summer?   Whether it’s a family vacation, BBQ with friends, or a day trip to a park, I hope that the greatest memories are made not just because everything was planned and went perfectly, but that you and your loved ones are able to stop and laugh at the not-so-perfect moments.

So when you are in that situation where you ask yourself, “What was I thinking?” shake it off and just roll with it.  Life can be messy.  Have fun with it!