Friday, June 24, 2011

summer vacation

So! We're leaving on vacation tomorrow.  Jamaica.  Bluefields Bay.  We've been planning this trip for the past nine months.  The kids are looking forward to it.  The bags are full of beach and pool stuff.  We got all those little tiny sub-three-ounce sunscreen bottles from the travel section at Target.  We told Cal there will be fishing and sea kayaks and snorkeling.  And we told Mack we will be taking an airplane there.  (That seemed to be enough to get him going.)

I've been checking and checking and checking the weather report since earlier this week, hoping that this forecast would change (after all, I told myself on Monday, we were still almost a full week out! So much time for the clouds to dissipate!) but at this point, I may have resigned myself to this picture:

Look, I know it rains in the Caribbean all the time, so maybe it'll just rain once or twice a day, like, during the kids' naps, and...after it gets dark.  Right?  Right?  And, as Joe pointed out, a 60% chance of rain means a 40% chance of not rain, right?  RIGHT?  (You nod now.)  Look, it's not like I need it to be sunny.  I don't care if it's not sunny.  The sun and its mutagenic rays!  Do not want!  I just don't want it to be, you know, the penultimate scene in "Back To The Future" where the lightening bolt strikes the clock tower.  (In this scenario, "the clock tower" is code for "my children.")  Because Cal has been training for snorkeling on the beach, and if the ocean is going to be unswimmable, I sure don't want to be the one to tell him.

But weather aside, we're so glad to be going anyway.  That's the other piece of the work-life balance equation that doesn't get talked about too much, because it seems too obvious, but--you need to take vacation.  A real vacation, not that kind of vacation where you just stay in town and catch up on errands and tell yourself how much you don't need to relax.  Not that, but a vacation where you actually leave, go somewhere, and take yourself away from all the little distractions that take you away from spending time with your family.  

We got some fairly sobering news this week, as you may have inferred from Wednesday's entry.  A child in Mack's nursery school class passed away unexpectedly after a brief illness, which is unspeakably tragic.  And it's that kind of news, that strikes so suddenly and unexpectedly and so close to your heart--like a tree that falls down in a storm, sparing your own house but demolishing that of your neighbor--that makes you realize all the more that you need to cherish what you have.  So this vacation in particular, which falls during a point in our lives where Joe and I are probably the busiest with outside obligations than we've ever been (and yes, this includes residency) is going to be about happiness and thankfulness, loving our kids and making the most out of the time we have to spend with them.  Even if we're wearing rain ponchos and playing Monopoly indoors for an entire week.

We will be staying at Bluefields Bay Villas and as we are participating in their "Blogging from Bluefields" program, I will actually be updating fairly often this week with lots of pictures and updates.  Make sure you're following my Twitter account if you aren't already, because, you know, The Twitter.  (Insert social media techno-jargon here.)  Hopefully we'll be getting wet only intentionally, and pouring out a bottle of Red Stripe on the sand for our homies in abstentia.

See you there!


  1. Anonymous3:54 PM

    I am a full-time physician and mom and I am a workaholic and find it very hard to take vacations. My kids are still little so they don't seem to mind that we never take vacations, but they probably will when they're older. This is going to sound dysfunctional--but how much vacation does the average full-time attending physician take? If it were up to me, I would take none. (I have most weekends off, so it's not like I work nonstop.) Michelle, how much vacation do you take? Three one-week trips per year? I'm trying to set the right expectations for the kids too. My parents were work-three-jobs-each immigrants so we never took vacations growing up.

  2. Anonymous4:07 PM

    I stayed 3 weeks in Barbados and yes, it does rain a lot. But of the 3 weeks I was there, I think it rained all day only once, and when it rained, it was usually, as you said, in the morning or at night.

  3. I hope you guys have lots of fun, even if it does rain. But I'm hoping you get lots of sunshine too!!

  4. When we were in training, we tried to schedule on week of family vacation a year. Now that we're out, we just try to go when we have time off and when budget allows--this year we have this trip and we took that trip to Hilton Head with Joe's parents during Spring Break. Some people travel much more, and to incredibly far-flung places, which I'm sure is amazing, but I don't think it's so much where you go or how often, but the memories we have from our trips are some of the happiest and most indelible for the kids. (And for me and Joe as well!)

  5. We went to Grand Cayman a couple of years ago, and our forecast looked just like that -- it did rain almost every single day we were there, but only for 20 or 30 minutes once or twice a day, and was sunny and gorgeous the rest of the time! We spent almost the whole week lounging on the beach. :)

  6. Anonymous9:29 PM

    Usually rain in the tropics on islands comes and goes really fast, and it's warm. I don't think it will wreck swimming.

  7. Anonymous1:25 AM

    I am full time working physician as well and mother of two toddlers. We just got back from our first one-week vacation since residency. it's been 8 years. I really enjoyed time off with the kids, just relaxing. Have a great trip!

  8. Anonymous8:58 AM

    I prefer to have the really big vacation every two to three years vs the smaller getaways. I think the mental countdown is what gets me through the daily grind.

    My Euro friends seem to be on holiday every few weeks. They take their holiday time seriously!!