Monday, June 29, 2015

The Value of Vacation

A few weeks ago we headed out on our first family vacations in a long while--we escaped to the beauties of southern Utah, those breathtaking red rocks, and the natural wonder of Zion National Park. On the way down we stopped for the open house of the new Payson temple. Wow, it was beautiful.

We got to St. George and swam, went to the St. George Children's Museum (a wonderful little gem), and showed the kids lots of local history sites.
The kids on the St. George Temple steps

I love the brilliant white of the St. George Temple--so beautiful!

The temple visitor center is a great stop for Sunday after church.
Then we went to Zion National Park where we stayed in cabins, did a little hiking, and let the kids play in some streams.

With a few weeks behind us now, it would be easy to gush about how wonderful every moment of that trip was. But that wouldn't really be true. Like anything else in a family, there were moments of pleasure and moments when we wondered why we were trying so hard to form good family memories. Some moments were delightful and some moments involved discipline (jumping from bed to bed in a hotel room earns you some quiet time in a chair with your arms folded).

Things had reached a stressful peak around day three when I turned to Cameron and told him I had just decided that family vacations aren't for parents, they're for kids. Vacations for parents are called romantic getaways, right? Yes, it was wonderful to play with the kids and see beautiful sites and enjoy local attractions, but vacations carry extra stresses, too. ("Are we there yet? How much longer?" "I'm tired of hiking. My feet are so sore!" "When are we going to have lunch? I'm starving!" "I don't want to go see that. I just want to go swimming." "This water's too cold!" "When are we going to roast the marshmallows? Can I just get them out right now?")

Fortunately, later that same day we were on a shuttle riding back through the canyon when Jake started offering our licorice to some people from Australia. A nice man sitting nearby lent the kids his binoculars to look through, and afterwards they all thanked him (without even being prompted!)

"You have such lovely children. All of them," remarked the Australian couple.

Vacations are like the rest of family life. They have ups, downs, moments of joy and moments of extreme stress, moments when we wonder why we try so hard, and moments when we feel like we are actually making some headway in our journey to raising respectable adults. I at times wished for a stress-free trip with perfectly well behaved children, perfect weather and water temperatures, ease and enjoyment. But perhaps if I had that, we wouldn't have glowed quite so much when those blessed Australians praised our children's good behavior. Work helps us appreciate play. Heat helps us appreciate cold. Bad behavior helps us appreciate good behavior. And with all that properly in perspective (and any temper tantrums in the long-forgotten past) I am prepared to gush about how blissful every moment of our trip was. I love our family.

No comments:

Post a Comment