The Cruise Director Takes a Vacation
Admittedly, I tend to be the family vacation planner. Not just planning the “where’s and when’s” of the trip, but all of the activity options for the time that we spend there. Studying the area for several months before we leave, I read reviews on restaurants and attractions and dig for coupons. Typically I print out lists of things that we can do and possible places in the area to visit. My family has dubbed me the “cruise director” for these very reasons; which brings us to why this year’s vacation was so very different for me.
Several months ago the boys began to sort of drop hints that maybe they would like to make this year’s vacation simply relaxing and not to plan a whole lot of activities. I totally understood their reasoning; all three of the boys as well as both of my daughters-in-law were desperately in need of rest and relaxation. All of them have stressful jobs, one is still in school while working full-time, and two are the parents of both an infant and a toddler. A week is all that they have to recharge and rejuvenate. Running from place to place, visiting sites in the area and attempting various activities just didn’t sound as appealing this year as they have in the past.
At first I wasn’t sure if I could do it. After all, we had never been to Hilton Head Island before. There were trollies that you could take into Savannah. There were putt-putt golf courses galore, unique shops all over the island, and even a Zip Line tour. By the time the boys began to let me know their wishes, I practically had our itinerary mapped out. But I took a deep breath, ripped up all of my lists, and decided to allow this vacation to just “happen” without all of my planning. It wasn’t easy and took a great deal of restraint on my part, but I was able to do it.
There were a few exceptions to my new resolve to be flexible and spontaneous. I did plan a couple of meals and pack the necessary ingredients, and I did confirm an appointment with a photographer to meet us on the beach to take family photos. But other than that, each day blended into the next without my interference. As the guys golfed (with pre-arranged tee times, by the way), I simply woke up without knowing what the day would bring. Some mornings I moseyed over to the pool for a while by myself, and then came back to watch to grandbabies while allowing my daughter-in-law to spend some time poolside. Some days we took the babies to the pool with us. Some days all of us headed to the beach. And twice my husband and I even rode bicycles to the beach and back. On the evenings that I didn’t cook, we all shared delicious meals at seafood restaurants that had been recommended to us.
All of this is to say that the ingredients that make up a wonderful vacation have nothing to do with activities or sightseeing. What made this week so special was waking up each morning with unlimited access to time spent with my precious boys and their families. Sharing meals around the table together without someone having to jump up to go to work. Flying kites on the beach, swimming in the waves, or simply walking along together as we watched a spectacular sunrise. Hearing the happy squeals of our grandson, rocking the baby to sleep, or sipping coffee on the back deck. These are the things that will forever embed this week in my memory as being one of the best vacations ever.
Just one small request; don’t judge me if I slip back into “cruise director” mode now and again. Old habits die hard.