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Why We're Skipping the Summer Vacation

Photograph by Getty Images

At least once a week I field the question, “Where are you guys going on vacation this summer?” You would think that by now I would have thought of a creative and hilarious way to say “nowhere.” But I haven’t. I usually just stammer that my husband and I are homebodies who plan to sit this vacation season out.

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But the truth is that my husband and I quite like to travel, but not with our children. Oh, Lord, please don’t make me cross the county line with my little ones! They’re great little people as far as 2- and 3-year-olds go, but extended car trips and airport delays don’t exactly bring out their placid sides. In fact, my husband and I are so scarred from traveling over break last winter that it’s fine by me if we never travel together as a family again. Ever.

I will admit, however, that when listening to other families talk dreamily about their annual trips to the beach or the lake or to villas across the ocean, I have moments where I think, "Hey, we could do that, too." I let myself fantasize about making sand castles or catching fireflies. Sometimes I get so far gone that I propose to my husband that we give it a try.

We can save our money, our sanity and our time for now by knowing our limits.

He guides me back to reality. And our reality is that our two children are terrified of bugs, so fireflies are out, and the texture of sand makes both of them shriek in horror. “It’s too soon,” he reminds me and assures me, saying, “One day it will be fun, but not while our kids are at their current ages.”

And I know he’s right. Taking a fabulous vacation is one of those things that sounds like a great idea but which will backfire the minute I start packing a suitcase. Taking our brood on the road might be a trip, but it’s not a vacation. Between nap schedules and diapers and keeping track of their must-have lovies, we have our hands full just spending one night at grandma’s house.

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Certainly, we have the rest of our lives to vacation by the seashore or trek through national parks. We can save our money, our sanity and our time for now by knowing our limits and traveling within them.

As a consolation prize, I’ve purchased some top-of-the-line lawn chairs and a deluxe popsicle maker so that when we sit in the front yard watching our neighbors take off for grand adventures, we’ll be cool and comfortable right here at home. Exactly where we belong.

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