I don’t vacation well. It’s taken me many vacations to figure this out, but it’s true. If I were graded on my vacation behavior, I would have a pretty low grade point. Hopefully my husband won’t force me to drop out!

I always begin losing points when the packing starts. My head is filled with about sixteen checklists of supplies we will need. I want to spend our time together, not running to Target for the forgotten underwear, contact cleaner or canker sore medicine.
But it’s not the packing that makes me frustrated. I like to pack! It’s interchanges like this that drive me nuts:

“I told you to make sure you had enough underwear!” Apparently he doesn’t know that one pair isn’t enough. 

“I said to pack three pairs of clothes!” But he says he DID… See? All three tee shirts in the bag match the shorts that he has on in our 43 degree weather…   

“I said to make sure the loaf of bread and eggs don’t get smooshed!” How was he supposed to know that sixteen duffel bags loaded onto a loaf of bread would make it look like a pair of wadded up socks? And just because we can’t see the eggs anywhere doesn’t mean they are all smashed at the bottom of the pile…

 This is the stuff that starts my Control Girl engine. I start rifling through everyone’s duffel bags and barking out orders and pulling things out of the back of the van onto the driveway… By the time I’m through, nobody feels like they are on a vacation. And the most miserable person is me! I don’t want to be like this.

So I’ve decided to make myself some vacation reminders for next time. (Please, Honey? I promise I’ll be good if you say there can be a next time…) I plan to read these to myself over and over before the packing begins on our next family trip:
·         All of our time together counts as vacation time. Even the time that we’re packing and loading. Even the time that we’re stuck in traffic or on a detour. Even the time we’re pulled over while the officer is flashing his lights behind us. It’s not just those quiet moments together at the beautiful lookout that count. It’s all of the moments strung together that make a vacation. They all count! I need to start the clock sooner on vacation.
·         I must manage my expectations or they will manage me. I don’t know why I get so bent out of shape about what we’re supposed to be doing on vacation. (Like watching the sunset or avoiding the admission line). Vacation is supposed to be a break from expectations! It’s usually the spontaneous fun that the kids enjoy and remember most. I need to relax my expectations
·         Trying to be efficient makes me crabby. So what if he wants to finish his coffee? So what if they want to sleep in? So what if we miss one of the exhibits that was included in our ticket? My urgency to be efficient costs my family far more than it benefits them. It costs them the joy of a relaxing, rejuvenating time together.

I’m determined to get a good grade on my next vacation. Here are the verses I’ll be cramming to get ready: 

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who… emptied himself by taking the form of a servant.”
Philippians 2:4-7

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