I recently got back from a trip to Maui, Hawaii with my children (ages 2 and 4) and my husband. We spent our days at the different resort pools, the beach, searching for treasure in the black rocks, and living the island life. We’re back now and adjusting to reality. Every morning my kids ask when we can go back.
While in Maui, my husband and I made a decision that turned out to be our best one ever while on vacation. We left our cell phones in the room.
This meant, we would stay off of social media. While spending time on our phones and reading about other people’s “reality,” we ran the risk of missing creating our own. We knew the temptation was too great if we had our phones with us. It’s become second nature when we have a few minutes to sit and glance at our phones to see what our friends are up to on Facebook and Instagram.
One day as I finished climbing on a giant rubber whale with my son in the Adventure Pool, I looked around and saw parent after parent sitting in lounge chairs on their phone. Their heads were down as they missed smile after smile from their kids enjoying the pool. I heard a few kids screaming at their parents, “Watch this!” as their parents looked up for a moment and then quickly back to their phone. One of my favorite things about being a parent is seeing the world through my children’s eyes. I don’t want to miss even one of those smiles or “watch me” moments.
When you become a parent, the way you vacation changes. The relaxing beach time of sitting and reading a book is no more and it is now all about building sandcastles and searching for seashells. It’s different but still fun. My friends know if I’m on vacation, I will not respond to texts until I return. Texting means I’m missing adventures and not fully in the moment. In addition, I don’t update my social media accounts to show how we are having the best time. I don’t need to post pictures of our vacation to be fulfilled. I cherish vacations as it is our family of four together without any distractions of laundry, cooking, or scheduled activities.
As I continue my gaze around the pool, I see a family of four. The kids in their teens. The whole family is going up and down the waterslides together. I watch them laugh, race up the stairs, slide down, and then do it again. I know in a few years that will be my family.