Greetings from lovely Lake Tahoe! It is absolutely, without a doubt, so incredibly gorgeous here. I just read a little fun fact about Lake Tahoe this morning : The Lake is 99.1% pure, and an object dropped under water as deep as 100 feet, can still be viewed from the surface. I guess this fact struck me so much because honestly, all I can think of when looking out over the Lake is “pure beauty.” And, it really is.
This is our first real vacation since having DJ nearly two years ago. In fact, we are staying at the same place we stayed when I was about eight months pregnant with her. It is also the same place that my husband’s family vacationed every summer while he was growing up. We love it here on the South Shore, and look forward to spending our family’s summers here, too.
Now that all the flowery stuff is out of the way….talk of the beautiful lake and the sentimental connections we have here – let me level with you, vacationing with a toddler ain’t for sissies. Lord Almighty.
Today is our fifth day away from home, and I am more exhausted than I have been in two years! And yes, while I’d rather be exhausted on a sandy beach then stuck inside my own four walls – I will definitely not be returning from this trip with the glow of a woman whose done nothing but joy-read while sipping frosty Pina Coladas.
Let’s take yesterday, for example….my otherwise totally-devoted-to-family-time-while-on-vacation husband, agreed to take one business call our entire trip. This call happened to coincide with the time that I decided to take my FIRST shower sans-toddler since arriving on vacation (Did I mention that since leaving home, DJ has literally been attached to my hip?). Anyhow, I’m in the shower, taking a moment to appreciate my independence, when in barges my determined daughter, saying “poo poo, Mommy, poo poo.”
Um, ok – you can’t argue when a kid is potty training. So, the toilet is right outside the shower…which means DJ has now pealed back the shower curtain (my only shield from motherhood), and is begging me to put her on the potty. While dripping water all over the place, and breaking out in goose bumps, I lean over the tub, strip her pants and big girl panties off, and place her on the potty. She then gets ticked off by my close proximity to her and pleads for “privacy.” Obviously, I win the argument that I can’t actually go anywhere else (with suds streaming from my head and down my back), and she relaxes enough to do her business.
Of course when she finishes, we both take notice of the empty toilet paper roll. With wet, pruned fingers, I once again lean outside the shower and try to place a roll of the cheapest one-ply paper the hotel could get a bargain on, back on the chrome fixture. All the while, DJ is freaking out, “I do! I do! I do!” Again, I finally win the argument, put the roll on the spring-loaded thingy, and realize I now have to wipe her bum bum. Needless to say, my shower ended abruptly, my arm pits went unshaven again, the conditioner surely hadn’t penetrated my split ends, i had toilet paper shreds streaming from mu fingertips, and the bathroom was a sopping mess.
After emerging from the bathroom totally battered and bruised, with my husband’s call having just ended – I glared at him and said “How could we have forgotten her potty?” I mean, really, with EVERYTHING else we had remembered to pack – her favorite books, the sunglasses she likes to chuck at us, her special water bottle, the pillow from her bed, her life jacket and water socks, her favorite dolly – somehow, we had forgotten DJ’s potty….the one she can sit on all by herself, the one that has it’s own cubby for wipes. The one that doesn’t require parental supervision to use.
Then, there are the stairs. We are staying in a lodge-like hotel, and our “room” is more like a two-story condo. There are 11 stairs from the first floor to the second. Ask me how I know there are 11…..well, because I have walked up and down them fourteen hundred times in the past five days. Aside from the in-room AC unit which blows cool air from it’s fan, the stairs are DJ’s favorite part of our room. We don’t have stairs at home, and let me tell you – exercising was not high on my list of objectives for this vacation. At least I’m not feeling guilty about the S’mores.
I hadn’t really planned for the extreme separation anxiety and the associated need for DJ to be held by me almost every minute of every day. I hadn’t really thought about how DJ would feel suddenly living in a new environment. I didn’t anticipate that she wouldn’t understand what vacation meant. I hadn’t thought through that bringing a canopy for shade, our own chairs for lounging, all of DJ’s beach toys and a cooler for our fresh lunch on the beach would mean arms and hands full of crap that would require lugging to/from the room everyday. I hadn’t really thought through how the changes in DJ’s routine would affect her mood, or how the majority of our meals out would effect ours (any two year old is not really known for their good restaurant manners). I really just thought that “vacation” held a universal understanding of relaxation, freedom from responsibilities, and protection from all things grumpy. Not so.
However, with all of that said (and yes, I am feeling loads lighter after that rant), there have been such precious memories made this week. Watching DJ’s face light up each time she sees the Lake while she shouts, “Ocean, right there!” has been priceless (as has hearing her sweet little voice pronounce “Lake Tahoe,” has been as we correct her that it’s not the ocean). Seeing her bravely jump around in the kiddie pool, practicing her favorite songs from swim lessons, has been a delight (and great confirmation that those lessons are money well spent). Watching her pick up handfuls of sand, slowly releasing each grain through her fingers and into the light breeze has reminded me how much wonder is all around us if we just stop. Just stop. Stop worrying about the small stuff – like how we forgot to pack the potty.
Last night, we roasted marshmallows in a fire pit on the beach. We watched the sunset as DJ discovered the gooeyness of roasted puffs of white sugar. It was beautiful, and it was a blast. It was also one of our finest “vacation moments.” And, if we walk away from these five days of craziness with only that memory etched into our minds, then the seven hours it took to travel what should have only taken four, will be more than well worth it.
Room service, please……