It’s funny how a few days of warm sunshine, fresh salty air and sounds of the ocean can really close all those open tabs in your head. It slows your mind down and makes you aware of things that matter and things that need attention.
My daughter Liv loves the ocean, the sand in her toes and the wind in her hair. She sits in the sand alone with her book or journal and thinks, dreams and takes her needed alone time. She loves taking selfies and pictures of new places. Like most teens she tries to find the best picture out of 100 taken to post on various social media accounts. I mean she has a Pinterest board dedicated to beach poses! The simple joys of teen life. She loves trying new restaurants and foods. when rested she will go with the flo and take in all the new experiences. At the end of the day – she will find solace and peace with being away alone – sitting in lobby talking with her BFF and unwinding from the day. I admire her for that.
My daughter Maddie loves a trip or the idea of one. While the ocean is great, she is scared of the birds that swoop down and jellyfish that lay dead on the sand. She loves the pool but needs certain goggles and to get a swim suit – it has to feel and fit just so. She loves to go out for dinner and treats but they need to be just the way she is used to vs. her getting her own way….and there is a difference. She likes being in the sun but would rather be doing her same things as home…her phone and little social contact. She gets nervous with new experiences, anxious over things that are different than the norm. When her anxiety flares up – her maturity lowers. At the end of the day she just wants TV or videos to watch. Doesn’t care who is around. She doesn’t need alone time because most of her day is alone – in her own world.
Both girls are very different to begin with, but it’s so much more obvious on a vacation. In some ways very hard. No agreeing on anything we do…they spend time apart as strangers vs together as fun sisters. I know that they are classic teens with teen attitudes, but I also realize how much attention they need in such different ways. I pictured our family vacation that we scraped together for – filled with laughter, running and being on the beach and sisters reconnecting and having fun. But it was not like that…and again I am reminded of one of my very favorite quotes “What screws us up in life the most is the picture in our head of the way it is supposed to go”. AMEN.
I love this picture of my girls! Just like anything on social media is gives you a fake representation of real life. This was taken on our last night on vacation. A week of all of us sleeping in one room – a daughter with allergies flaring up in the Florida pollen with coughing attacks all night long. No one wanting to do the same thing at any one time. No hanging together – no patience for each other as sisters – In fact this picture I said “Pretend you love each other” – because I wanted a good pic of them TOGETHER.
Now I know vacation can be stressful for any family at times. But this vacation made me pause and reflect on what my family needs from me to better function in life. First my hubby – we NEED more “us” time. “WE” get lost in the day to day shuffle. When you have a daughter that is popular and has stuff to do with other friends every weekend and a daughter who is the opposite and sits home every weekend alone – guilt of going out and leaving her bored alone takes over. That guilt doesn’t do any good. For Olivia, I know that she requires time to herself to decompress – and has so much on her plate with working, aiming for straight A’s and keeping friendships up – that sometimes I need to step in and say “What can I do to help you?” vs. embracing her independence and self sufficiency and assuming she is fine. For Maddie, I need to spend more time with her. She needs me and help navigating life. She requires a lot of me…which reminds me that I NEED to take care of myself and BE there. It’s hard after getting up every day at 5, working (altho it is part time) with 4 year olds (which I love), coming home tired – running kids to work, thinking about dinner, checking on homework…etc….I am ready to mentally check out after dinner with a glass of wine and TV – shutting the world off. I am literally SPENT. How do I make myself please everyone, be there and present, be a good wife and parent when I am so mentally tired? Vacation had me really look at all of these things…..I have no answers…but it woke me up a bit. What is the balance? What should come first?
The beach did bring me some peace…early morning coffee alone with the sound of the waves…sunshine after a long grey dreary winter…and lazy afternoons by the pool. It shut down all the nonsense tabs that were open and made me look at the open tabs that really need examining.