Next week, we'll embark on our first real vacation as a family of four. We traveled a lot just with S, when we outnumbered her, and of course, we've done overnights with both girls -- Maine; Vermont; Mystic, CT -- but never something where we have had to pack an obscene amount of stuff, squeeze all of it, and ourselves, onto an airplane, and look at each other with wide eyes, wondering if it's really worth it.
That's right, we're going out of the country for this one. Costa Rica, in fact.
We chose the land of Pura Vida for this first family foray for very specific reasons:
1) It's far enough to feel like a true getaway, but close enough that (we think) we can manage the flight. We have only 1 connection, which will be our opportunity to run S like a mad woman through the airport to tire her out.
2) It's close to our time zone. In fact, if we didn't have stupid daylight savings only three days before we leave, it'd only be an hour difference. So our plan is to keep the girls on their current sleep schedule the best we can... that way we'll only have to wake up at 5am in Costa Rica, not 4am. Gulp... good thing we're going somewhere with excellent coffee.
3) We're sentimental. Nick and I got married in Costa Rica five years ago, and we have such great memories of the long weekend we spent there with fifty of our closest family and friends. We'd like to stop in at the ceremony site and show the girls where it all began. They might not get it just yet, but walking around those tropical gardens with our 3-year-old at our side and baby in our arms will be pretty special for Nick and me. We might just get a little misty-eyed.
4) We convinced babysitters to join us. Ahh, you say, that's how they're managing this! Yes, my parents will be there for most of the vacation, which will be so, so nice. Truthfully, we would have gone without them, but I'm sure it will feel like more of a vacation to this tired mama and dada with them there. I'm picturing a kids-free happy hour in my near future.
So there you have it. Are we crazy? Probably. Will we forget to pack something important? Undoubtedly. But will it be worth it in the end, to remind ourselves that we're still the travelers we were before children, now just with a little extra baggage?*
I certainly hope so. And I'll be sure to let you know.
*Not that I'm calling my kids baggage... ok, so maybe I am, but I mean it in the kindest way possible.