The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

A Renewed View of Vacation

Dear Parents of Children Under Four,

I know you have Post Traumatic Vacation Stress (PTVS). I get that right now the concept of ‘vacation’ is really a giant, seething, stressful mass of moving parts and screaming, overtired children that you have to participate in for some amorphous benefit called ‘memories’. You don’t remember when something like this was actually enjoyable. You live in fear of the week before vacation when you make endless lists of ‘Things to Pack’, ‘Things to Keep Children Occupied During Travel’ and ‘Things We Might Need in Case of Every Possible Catastrophe’. When you’re actually on vacation you think, with longing, about how perfectly your home is equipped with everything you need. You wonder why the idea of leaving that oasis of sanity and already-childproofness was ever attractive in any way.

I’m here today to tell you there is an end to the madness. Right past when your youngest turns four a magical thing will happen: vacation will become fun again. Suddenly you can throw the kids in the car with a couple of changes of clothes and some handheld gaming instruments and go. It’s amazing how much space you will have leftover in your car without the previously requisite pack-n-play, double stroller, high chair, packages of diapers, extra bottles and sippycups. The kids will generally keep their shit together if you keep them filled up on drivethru food and their brains glazed over with video games and movies.

The intrinsic properties of ‘The Vacation’ will begin to make sense again. You forgot about ‘relaxing’, but you’ll be hooked again. The kids can play and entertain themselves in a new setting. You can pretty much do whatever you want when you want and you DON’T HAVE TO WORK. You used to prefer actual work over the horrifying amount of work vacation entailed. You’ll realize this vacation thing is THE BEST.

I know it seems like forever, but the PTVS will end. Put your head down and push through.


A Parent of Children Over Four, Seeing the Light



Dear Self,

Try not to get so would up all the time. Your mother says stress kills braincells. Which means you’re lucky you can still operate WordPress.



Family photo as we're leaving the house. Stop noticing how close my eldest is to overtaking me. It's making me feel old.

One of three grid-lock traffic situations we encountered. And I didn't even murder anyone or throw myself under the car next to us.

My husband and sister are due right around the same time. Isn't that so special?

Hair braiding of surrogate daughters. Some of us can only birth the boy-children so we need to enjoy the girls when we can.

My brother and his sea urchin lunch from the farmer's market. (I tried it. It didn't suck.)

My sister-in-law likes to carry dead babies around strapped to her chest. The whole family thinks it's a little strange, but we try to accept her as she is.

Friendship bracelets and nail stickers.

Breakfast from the local donut shop right down the block.

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