Families, like people, evolve. Nothing stays the same, and I suppose that’s a good thing. It’s nice when change occurs because you gain the ability to experience something new and exciting again. 

This week we took our kids to a water park resort with my in-laws. We’ve frequented this resort before but when my kids were much younger. 

We’ve definitely evolved since then. 

Vacationing with young kids and babies isn’t easy despite what you might see posted on social media. Don’t let the smiles deceive you. 

Of course, social media is filled with posts of families with blissfully happy little ones on a boat, in front of famous landmarks or even videos of them gleefully sliding down a water slide. We all know there is so much more to this vacation than a few cheery photos or seconds of video. This is just what parents choose to show.

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What you don’t see is the parents attempting to enjoy themselves at the same time as orchestrating the day. Making sure the kids have sunscreen, brushed teeth, floaties on, and snacks packed—I’m just scratching the surface. 

The truth is, parents with young kids have to hover—and I don’t mean that in a weird, crazy way. I mean it like—you have to hover because it’s your job. Even when you’re on vacation, you’re still working. You don’t get to plant your butt down in the sand with a margarita and relax.

There’s little to no relaxing, no exhaling. 

I’m not saying you can’t enjoy yourself at all, but we all know enjoyment with little ones comes with added responsibility. However, don’t fret. It changes, you evolve as a family and the responsibility is lessened. Your kids eventually pack their own bags, apply their own sunscreen and even remember to brush their teeth. 

My family has evolved to a point I love.

They are still young enough to enjoy a waterpark but old enough to do most of the things I used to have to help them with on their own. They also appreciate adult restaurants over kid-friendly ones, and the best part—I don’t have to hover. It was really nice to be able to have a drink with my husband and enjoy our time together while my kids orchestrated their own day. 

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I remember when parents of teens would tell me how fast time passes and how I should enjoy every second. At that time, I couldn’t even imagine my kids as teens because it felt like ions away. 

They were right though, it does fly by. I’m glad I listened and appreciated the time we had with them when they were little even if it was a little tough. Now here I am with teens, exhaling and taking it all in. Enjoying this evolution of my family

Dana Storino

Dana Storino is an emerging neurodiverse writer. She has been published in Wrytimes and a guest blogger for ADDitude.com. Her most recent children’s story was published in Glittery Literary’s Cherished Children’s Stories available on Amazon. Dana received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College Chicago. She works full-time for Chicago Public Schools as a SECA (special education classroom assistant). Her middle-grade book “The Golden Bee'' is currently represented by Max Dobson of Maximus Literary. You can read some of her personal experiences with ADHD and life in general in her WordPress blog, “Oh Look, a Squirrel.” She’s a married mother of three humans, a spunky Dalmatian named Dolly, and a cool cat, Bean.