Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Running Head First Into a Wall

I would like to propose the creation of a new word. I haven't actually come up with the word yet, but it would be used to replace the word vacation. I am of the belief that once you have kids (at least little ones) and you take them on a trip and call it vacation you are simply fooling yourself. There just is no such thing. I thought about calling it a getaway, but that word still implies the feeling of complete relaxation. For now we will just refer to it as a trip. By definition a trip is "a journey or excursion, especially for pleasure".

So, we are on a trip to the beach right now. New Smyrna beach in Florida to be exact.

Let's back up.

A few weeks ago I took the girls by myself on a trip to Raleigh, NC to spend a few days with a great friend and her family. While the drive was bumpy going solo, the trip itself was wonderful. I love watching my kids with my friend's kids. I love catching up with old friends as well. Good times.

Then, I came home and had a nervous breakdown. It's a long, tedious story. Let's just say I should have sought consistent therapy a year ago when my dad died. As with many things, I thought I could control the grief and live my life normally. It seems that idea is slightly delusional. Or, immensely delusional in my case. Either way, help showed up in the form of my amazing family and baby steps are happening to avoid this kind of thing again. I feel like I've talked a lot about grief on this blog, and as a writer or a reader too much of something can be exhausting. I have written many posts over the last week and a half thinking I could shed some light on this tough part of my life without it being exhausting. In the end here's what I've come up with.

Follow me here.

We are at the beach. We have been here since Sunday and while it has not been relaxing it has involved the kinds of pleasure that going on a trip might create. New experiences with our kids, quality time with family, and the calming effect of the ocean are a just a few examples. I don't know how others do it, but we sort of let loose with our kids when we go on trips. There is less moderation and more of a "do what you want" mentality. The girls have indulged in an excess of playing on the beach, watching TV, and eating chocolate. While they have loved every minute of it (and so have we) I knew the inevitable consequence of less sleep and more play was going to be a recipe for disaster. In other words, the "wall" was coming.

I got to sleep in a little this morning which was lovely. I woke up and could tell right away that something was off. Seth was getting everyone ready to go down to the beach and things were just intense. I made coffee and got myself down to the beach hoping that the sun and fun would push away the cranky exhaustion my children were being sucked into. Within an hour I began to see the wall so clearly in front of me I knew something had to be done. Funny how easily you can see when others need help but how long it takes to see when you need it.

I got Lila to lay down on a towel in the hopes that she would just pass out. Evie spent ten minutes screaming so loudly (while flailing and rolling in the sand) that people passing by started to giggle, Seth's mom came outside to make sure she was okay, and uncle Levi may or may not have decided to never have children. Right about the time Evie came out of the tantrum I started talking to Lila about going inside and taking a nap. It was 10 am and Lila no longer takes naps if that tells you anything. She agreed and off we went. These days Evie is attached to me at all times so she came along as well. We get to the house and start hosing off and Evie loses her mind again while Lila is pacing around the patio. This feeling came over me that this moment was a complete visual of how I have been feeling. If I wanted to explain what was going on I should just take a video of my overly tired, distraught children as they were hitting a wall and falling apart. Clearly there was no time for video taking.

By 10:30 am they were both asleep and I was beginning this blog post.

Everything happens for a reason. Everyone needs help from time to time, but not everyone is good at asking for help. Waiting until someone hits a wall is a bad choice in parenting. It's also just a bad choice in life.

Lesson learned.

SIDE NOTE - Holla Hump Day will resume next week.


  1. I love this post, Jana. We learn so much from our children when we're open to learning so much from our children. I think your vacation is a voyage ... which means an enterprise or undertaking. Traveling with small kids is always an undertaking, a task of sorts, a mission, if you will. That doesn't typically mean it's relaxing, although it has its wonderful moments. Don't let the wall ruin it for you! I love you.

  2. Jana, just reading this post about your vacation and experience leaves me feeling exhausted and empathetic... Grief is such a funny thing. In grad school they taught us about the five stages of grief. They made it sound all neat and orderly... first you feel denial then move to anger... But it really doesn't work that way. Its not in a neat little box, but instead it comes like waves in the ocean. Some moments its high tide and others its low. Some days are "normal" and others you are bombarded with sadness, anger, longing. I'm sorry to hear you are going through it, but happy to hear that you recognized your needs through watching your beautiful girls.


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