Momcation

Being a mom seems tough. Not only are you responsible for your own well being, but you are responsible for another person’s (if not multiple others) development as a contributing member of society. As far as I’ve been able to determine a lot of effort, tears, and heart goes into that sort of responsibility. It’s only fair that moms get a break, and I’m not just talking their one day in May- they deserve more than that. More than a day, but less than a month- I’m not demeaning their worth here, I’m being practical: without them for that long all hell would break loose. In short, all moms deserve some time away from their motherly responsibilities. They deserve a solid “momcation.”

For the past 20 or so years, my mom and one of her closest friends have taken a vacation to Arizona to, as best as I can understand, get away from their two children and husbands. Their loving children who would never continuously leave their socks on the floor after being told to pick them up seven times, and their devoted husbands who would probably never forget to unload the dishwasher like they were asked… As one of those loving, albeit scatterbrained, problem children, I had mixed feelings about this annual retreat the two of them took, now that I’m older I can retrospectively appreciate that they deserved that week away.

Momcation has always held an air of mystery, although if you ask them, they’ll give it to you straight: we sit by the pool and read all day then go out to dinner and come back, chat, maybe have a glass of wine, and go to bed. Repeat x7. If it’s hard to believe that someone could sustain that routine for an entire week, you clearly don’t know these women. This year I learned first hand that this is exactly what they do.

Imagine my surprise when I was chatting with my mom one afternoon about her upcoming Arizona trip and jokingly, as I have the past couple years, asked if I could come, and she said “maybe.” She could have told me I was adopted and I might not have been more surprised- that’s how sacred momcation is. Things progressed from incredible to outlandish as I was cleared to come down for three days of their week of paradise.

It was at this moment that I realized I was no longer a problem to escape, but I was considered an asset to the adult team. Or at the very least I was no longer the nuisance I once was. And let me tell you, I’ve never enjoyed being a non-nuisance more: Best. Vacation. Ever.

After last week I’ve crafted a formula outlining the unique qualities of a successful vacation and they are listed as follows:

  • 1) Did you sit in the sun for as long as you possibly could?
  • 2) Did you consume your weights worth in gallons of iced tea?
  • 3) Were you able to successfully read while gloriously uninterrupted for hours upon hours at a time?

If you can answer yes to all three of these questions, congratulations! You had a great vacation.

During my brief stint on momcation I sat outside by the pool for three days in a row, only leaving to retrieve a new book (see 3) or refill my beverage (see 2). I’m not entirely certain how long it takes to develop an addiction to something, I’m sure it depends on the strength of the substance, but I’m fairly confident that in the span of three days I managed to develop a classifiable addiction to Arizona raspberry iced tea. It may very well be laced with something; my mouth is watering as I write this. As for criterion three, I managed to read 5 books in 3 days. Momcation needed to come with a label, “may induce uncontrollable sighing due to extreme contentment.”

One of the most shocking aspects of momcation is that any adherence to the food pyramids recommended dietary intake is strictly ignored. Breakfast the first day consisted of leftover enchiladas and chips. Gone were the “eat your veggies, be responsible” mothers I’d known for 23 years, and in their place were bachelors who stocked their shelves with margaritas and Twix bars. One night when we went out to dinner I ordered a slice of cake to eat for breakfast the next morning and it was actually encouraged. I’m not sure I’ve ever loved them more.

To some this sort of extreme relaxation might seem like the 4th circle of hell. Others are wondering where they can sign up, and to you I’m sorry to say, it’s a fairly exclusive club, and if your suitcase is not packed to the brim with paperbacks and you don’t have a fondness for queso or tequila, you will not be making the cut any time soon. It took me 23 years.

Mom, Laurie; thank you for including me on your momcation, it was an honor and a privilege that I didn’t take lightly. Thank you for providing the model of perfect, effortless, and lasting friendship; it’s a unique and beautiful gift and I appreciate your sharing it with me.

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Nobody Likes You When You’re 23

They say nobody likes you when you’re 23. Or at least blink-182 says that and they seem like a fairly reliable source. To be quite honest I’ll be good with 23 as long as it’s no 22. Taylor Swift led me to believe it was a much more magical time than it was… I should have paid more attention to the whole “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time,” lyrics because there is so much truth in them it’s not even funny. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so many conflicting emotions in any other period of my life, and that’s including adolescent puberty. We all know how fun that is. Quick shout out to my parents for not disowning me in my teens, you guys are the real MVPs.

If you asked me how 22 was, my response would be completely dependent on my mood that day. If I were happy, I’d tell you it was wonderful. I got to be a part of the wedding of two very dear friends and being there for them was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life. I went on a great family vacation to Hawaii, I ran a half marathon, and I graduated college relatively unscathed with not only one, but two, degrees in four years. If it were a bad day I’d tell you 22 sucked. I had no clue what I was doing after graduation and I lost all my friends (not true in any way, they just didn’t live down the street anymore so some days it felt like it), I gained a bunch of college stress weight that I was then stuck trying to get rid of, worked a job that was okay but by no means my dream, and at the end of the day all I wanted was to be happy but had no idea how to get there. In short, 22 was a roller coaster and utterly exhausting.

My 22nd year was marked with more tears than most, whether out of frustration, excitement, sadness, or joy. If there were any justice in this world, I would have dropped a couple pounds losing them in water weight, but I learned that unfortunately this is not the way the world, or human biology, works. However nearing the end of 22, I started to finally get it through my head that I have much more to celebrate than to wallow in. You can choose to be lost and wander aimlessly or you can move with purpose, even if it’s shortsighted. You don’t have to live for the long-term goal: you can be perfectly happy with several short-term goals. They’re easier to break down and in some cases the steps needed to attain them may even be more realistically achievable. If I learned anything at 22, it’s that you can choose to wake up and be upset about where you are,
or you can choose to be positive about it; every day gives you a new choice.

Each day is a new gift and you can choose to be grateful for that, or you can compare your gift to everyone else’s, letting that comparison dull the excitement you should have for what is in front of you. When people ask me what’s new, I don’t have much to say to them that differs from the last time we spoke in terms of “exciting life events,” but I’m happy, and don’t feel the need to analyze why, but just be. I’ve found that there is an incredible difference in that.

My hope for 23, and what I wish I could have embraced more at 22, is to take each day for what it is, good or bad, knowing that the bad is only temporary and in the end, it’s all good.