Monday, August 11, 2014

Great Expectations: Summer Travel Edition

I love to travel – it lights me up inside.  I love the journey.  I love the destination.  I love experiencing new adventures and finding comfort in familiar places.

I also love traveling because I learn so much about myself.

When we were in Myrtle Beach, I learned that despite all my focus on self-awareness, I still keep secrets from myself.

And expectations are my best-kept secrets from myself.

Unbeknownst to me, I expected to relax and play while we were at Myrtle Beach.

I (unexpectedly) expected everyone, especially the kids, would be happy.  In fact, I expected them to be so happy that they would spontaneously forget about their devices since they were so happy to be at the beach.

Clearly, these expectations were too great.  Yes, we had fun. 

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids myrtle beach
Every time Thomas says he hates Myrtle Beach, I will show him this photo
so he remembers how much fun he really did have.




mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids myrtle beach
One of my most favorite days ever.


But the battle of getting ready to go to the beach and unplugging from devices, and the battle with food  - it wore me down a bit.


Maybe if I just lowered my expectations to ensuring everyone stayed hydrated I would have had a better time.

Ironically, the Oprah magazine that I brought with me had a piece by Brene Brown about vacations and expectations.  She talked about how she had zero expectations for her family trip to Disney World – or so she thought.  When she talked to her husband about how she was looking forward to reading and napping and having a magical time, she realized that she had some secret expectations.


I tried to remember these insights when our next adventure took me and the kids with my mom to New Jersey to visit family.

I thought I was doing pretty well when I expected a horrible 12 hour road trip, and they were fantastic. 

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids road trip new jersey
Road Trip Warriors.


I was also not sure what to expect from them in terms of their behavior as houseguests, but my manners boot camp seemed to pay off.


mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids new jersey
Look at them - sharing a chair and being all cozy.  I wonder how I can get them to
use their houseguest behavior in our own home.



What I didn’t expect was to be so damn tired.  I was with them almost every single moment since they required me to sleep with them in the same room.  It was super cozy, though.  How could it not, sharing a twin bed with an 8 year old and another child in the other twin right next to you.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids  new jersey
Yes, I had my own bed in another room.  No, I didn't sleep in it.
Mom guilt is strong with these kids.


I was also caught off guard by the sharp twinge of nostalgia.  There is nothing quite like going to a place you went every summer as a kid and then share that experience with your own children.  I usually like to bask in the warmth of nostalgia, but this time I felt more sadness than fondness. 

I think being in a place that looks and feels just like it did when I was five highlighted the fact that I am The Caregiver now.  And as much as I love my role as The Caregiver to my children, I miss the safe feeling of knowing that someone else has the wheel.

mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids  new jersey
Me and my brother - New Jersey circa 1981



mommy on the spot erin janda rawlings travel with kids  new jersey
Thomas and Marie - New Jersey 2014



I realized when we were in Myrtle Beach that traveling gave me a way to connect with my kids that is hard to due to the daily grind, but this road trip to New Jersey helped me to connect with myself in a way that I haven’t done in quite awhile.


Have you traveled this summer?  Did you have fun?  Did you learn anything new about yourself?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The trips to Myrtle Beach and NJ sure brought back many memories for me as well as having fun making new ones with you and your children. I'm a very lucky Nana. xoxo

Erin Janda Rawlings said...

Thanks, Nana! xo