Today our June Blogger of the Month, Greta Funk, gives us a peek into the reality of travel for a family of six.
As we buckle five-point harness after five-point harness, I mentally check off the list of family-of-six necessities that I pray have made their way into the back of the overstuffed SUV. The suitcases that I have packed (single handedly) are filled to the brim with enough clothes and diapers to last us a solid week (or more), and the cooler will hardly close on the mountain of snacks and drinks that it contains.
We arrive at our hotel and immediately sit in the chair/use the (only) bathroom/test out our bed-jumping abilities/push all of the buttons on the phone and call the front desk before walking away from it.
The kids beg to go swimming while I hang up the phone and immediately call the front desk back asking for more coffee packets. After several minutes of rooting through the suitcases for swimming suits and swim diapers, we change and head to the pool. If the kids are lucky, we remembered to throw in a pool noodle or two. If not, we manage to float around the shallow end with little monkeys on our backs.
After I gather all of the swimming paraphernalia that’s been strewn around the room and hang it up to drip dry above the bathtub, my husband and I debate the local restaurant scene with just enough energy to decide on the closest and kid-friendliest choice. The meal is to be expected, and only half of it is eaten, but thankfully, there’s a mini-fridge in the hotel room where we can put the leftover boxes to set and forget.
As is also expected, bedtime is a joke and we parents go into survival mode. Or rather, I stay awake listening to the sound of the kids not sleeping while my husband rolls over and starts to snore. The next afternoon, I beg their father to take the big three non-nappers out to the pool so I can lie in the dark room under the queen-size covers while the toddler refuses to close his eyes, confined to a playpen full of toys and blankets. I need the rest as much as the little guy does, but by the time the four come back, hours later, neither one of us has seen the other side of our eyelids.
Another day or two of seeing some sights, eating some food, putting on our still-wet swimming suits to make the hallway trek back to the pool, and not getting any sleep, and I’m ready to go home for a vacation from our vacation.