The problem with going on vacation is that you have to come home. James and I planned our 20th anniversary trip to Greece for months and any time someone would mention something that was scheduled to happen "post-vacation" I'd plug my ears and sing, "lalalalalalala." I didn't want to think about anything beyond October 28th. In the weeks leading up to our departure, I felt like Super Woman. Sink overflowing with dishes? Skittle stuck up a kid's nose? Meteor crashed through ceiling and landed on our bed? (this actually happened to someone recently) - no problem. I was heading to a far away island for twelve whole days and wouldn't have to deal with dishes, injuries, or meteors the entire time.
While the grandparents (VERY generously) tag-teamed with shuttling the kids around, ensuring homework was done and lunches were packed, and about a million other duties I outlined in a slightly OCD binder I left for them, James and I gazed at the Acropolis, watched the sun set into the Aegean Sea in Santorini, and ate and drank copious amounts of food and wine. It was heaven.
Funny how when you're on vacation, you think to yourself, "why do I get so stressed in every day life? I really need to take time to chill out more. Surely I can find time to unwind and put my feet up from time to time." You return home with a renewed sense of priorities, resolved to incorporate more vacation-like moments into your monotonous routine. Yet every time I return home, the moment I set foot in the house, my intentions are thwarted and I resume life as a dishwasher, maid, cook, doctor, weather forecaster, therapist, banker, seamstress, chauffeur, teacher, IT specialist, handyman, referee, and most importantly nag. Don't get me wrong - we missed the kids - we just didn't miss the responsibilities that prevent us from sipping wine at the edge of an infinity pool at 11 a.m.
One week after returning home, I think it's safe to say that I have overcome the post-vacation blues. My heart still sinks a little when I look through the millions of photos I took or if someone happens to mention feta cheese. But as they say - work hard; play hard. And the work is worth it. As my mom likes to say, "you get out what you put in." I'm seeing the results of that every day. Reports from the grandparents indicated that the kids were not just cooperative, but helpful. Abigail and Paige assumed the roles of therapists during a monumental, but very in-character, Eleanor melt-down. And Kaleb comforted Cynthia during the Nor'easter we managed to miss (that's Kaleb's story anyway, though I actually think it was more Cynthia comforting him). They made their own breakfasts, packed their own lunches, and did homework without a fight.
My motivation may not be as high as it was in the weeks leading up to our trip. But hearing the positive feedback about the kid's behavior while we were away gives me that extra push to plow through the daily grind. And the little voice of Vacation-Jill sometimes emerges, encouraging me to stop vacuuming and play a game of Uno with the kids; to enjoy them while I can, because time flies - I can attest to that because our twelve days in Greece flew by in about twelve hours.
The vacation we dreamed about for ages is over. But there's another expression my mom always says, "don't cry that it's over. Smile that it happened." And I have more reasons to smile than just that.