We recently went to a Great Wolf Lodge with the kids for the first time. We had been promising the trip for about six months, you know as part of the whole, "C'mon kids, you're going to love living in Dallas...They have that cool indoor waterpark hotel called Great Wolf Lodge there. Yeah, sure we can go!" Then of course we moved to Dallas and learned that one night at Great Wolf was about the equivalent of one year of college tuition. Okay, so I'm exaggerating...a little. It took me months to find a decent price. Finally, the day had come, and we were all so excited!
While we were there, I discovered something amazing...
I could enjoy vacation. With kids! Crazy, right? But it was true! The first "vacation" we took after becoming parents was torturous. It was a large, extended family affair. While everyone else slept through the night and well into the morning, we were up feeding a two month old. As people lounged in bikinis all around me, I was self consciously trying to hide my post-pregnancy body. I was anxious every time the baby cried, which was a lot. You get the idea. It was a far cry from the relaxing, exciting, romantic trips Aaron and I were accustomed to taking.
Fast forward about six years. Add three more kids. Throw in two parents who have learned that the real joy of vacation is not about personal pleasure and relaxation - at least not in this season of our lives... The real joy comes from the children themselves. From the smiles and shrieks of joy as they bounce on hotel beds. From the wonder in their eyes as they behold something never seen before. From the wild, circular running and dancing - a physical inability to contain their excitement. From the soft, sweet head resting heavily on my shoulder at the end of the day. From warm little bodies tucked in close to mine, the blissful sighs, the "I love you's," and the sound of air softly entering and exiting four tiny noses.
Were there fights? Yes. Meltdowns? Of course. Was it worth every penny and every second of planning, packing, and working? You bet your bottom dollar!