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November 8, 2011

“Vacation is the worst part.”

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal, Therapy — Tags: , , , , , , , — llcall @ 8:08 pm

Of life, he means.  That’s what Neal just told me in response to my somewhat-whiny statement, “I just want to go back on vacation.”

It may seem strange that we didn’t completely figure out that some of my FAVORITE things — travel and vacations — are some of Neal’s LEAST favorite things until year six together.  But actually, it’s not strange at all because what was formerly Neal’s mildly-expressed preference for staying home, which I share a lot of the time, has turned into a deep-seated aversion to getting out of a two-mile radius of home since the bambina came along.  In some ways that I am only beginning to understand, Neal is filled with complete and utter dread when we 1) veer from a rigid schedule or 2) take Addison anywhere.  Which often seems strange to me since truly Addison is one of the best travelers around.  She never tires of seeing new places and interacting with new people, and handled five days of house-hopping with ease.

I suppose I didn’t mention it on here before (I meant to), but we just returned from a crazy, whirlwind vacation.  It didn’t involve knocking off any of my final states (trust me, I tried to talk Neal into a day trip to Mississippi so I could get to 44 states but he was certain either our marriage or his sanity wouldn’t survive the trip), but it was great fun nonetheless.  I started with a flight to Durham, North Carolina for a day and a half of eating with Ms. Kaila and her many entertaining friends.  Kaila spoiled me like crazy; I’m pretty sure I’ll have to make another NC appearance someday!  Then she drove me through the gorgeous fall leaves to Christiansburg, VA to meet up with Victoria, who graciously packed up her pregnant self and two-year-old to drive me to D.C. — but only after making me and Kaila homemade pizza.  Wonder woman, no?  It was great fun showing Victoria and Katie around D.C. for a day . . . I wished it could have been a week!  But something about the timing was meant to be since our other grad school friend Emily was also in D.C. that same day.  I can’t tell you how strange it was to be discussing toddler behavior and pregnancy issues (not mine, obviously), while having lunch in Adams Morgan with my two friends from Provo.  After a truly superb dinner at Le Pain Quotidien (their pesto = pure heaven), Victoria drove me to Dulles to rendezvous with Neal and Addison (yes, Neal braved a five-hour solo flight with a toddler; he still has the heart of a champion.).  Our few days in D.C. together were far too short.  I have some niggling regrets about people I didn’t get to see, not being able to go to church in my beloved old ward, and missing out on my favorite restaurant.  But really, there could never be enough time in a place I love and miss so much.

Our next stop was Nashville, TN, complete with a trip to the farmer’s market and an interesting hour at Occupy Nashville, which I may blog more about later.  Although Tennessee wasn’t a new state, I did manage to make better memories there, which was also on my states to-do list.  Finally, we made our way down to Huntsville, AL to visit Neal’s parents for a fun fall week.  Addison benefited from a thoughtful grandmother who picked out a Halloween costume and insisted on trick-or-treating, something that Neal and I no doubt would have overlooked if left to our own devices.  Ladybug pictures to come . . .

But back to the general topic of vacations . . . sort of.  I have spent much of 2011 trying to answer a couple of questions:  Why has the transition to parenthood been so dang hard for me and Neal?  And why has our relationship taken such a hit even though we had a strong foundation of communication before Miss A came along?  I’ve known some answers to these questions for awhile, and just before this vacation I had a couple of huge epiphanies (topics for another day).  But this vacation certainly solidified some additional reasons.  I actually feel and do better as a parent when we’re out and about, either for a day or two weeks.  That process of getting out gives me a needed adrenaline rush that allows me to more closely match the huge energy reserves Addison was blessed with.  That, and I kind of hate routine.  I hate doing the same thing everyday, sticking to the same schedule and the same activities.  Blech.  (Addison’s novelty and thrill-seeking streak certainly appears to come from me, though I hope she continues to have the energy to match her desires.)  And for Neal, a rigid and highly-specific schedule is like a favorite blankie you never want to let out of your sight.  I’m not even joking when I say that for the entire six months of our marriage counseling* we had the same conversation every single week:

Me: What do you want to discuss at counseling tomorrow?

Neal: Our schedule.

It’s a tribute to him that he kept coming even though every week I rolled my eyes and we discussed emotions and abstractions and existential crises instead.

So, to sum up.  Couple getaways, awesome.  Whole family vacations, tolerable (for him) only once every few years.  Separate vacations, good.  I guess I’ll have to take Addison to Disneyworld without him . . . maybe next week!

* I keep mentioning therapy in bits and pieces, but I’ve decided to add a new category about it because soon I’m going to start a series of retrospective posts about our experience in counseling.

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2 Comments »

  1. I wish it could have been a week, too! And I’m sorry you didn’t make it to your favorite restaurant—bummer!

    Comment by v. blanchard — November 9, 2011 @ 1:19 am

  2. Sounds like a fun trip! I love Nashville – I can’t wait to read more about your Occupy visit!

    Comment by Kristin — November 9, 2011 @ 1:38 am


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