Written by: Kira Montuori
Vacation at this point in my life is really just taking our crazy to a different location. Yes, there’s less running around to do per se but my people still like to participate in daily and often hourly, passing of the baton, can't keep it down whack-a-mole, beautiful disaster that apparently is our mixed bag lineage.
This year we took a trek out to the northwest along the Oregon coast. It was unlike a family vacation we’d taken before. More time to learn card games like Slamwich, fly kites and play made up games like “Mommy Trap” in the hills and valleys of the beach dunes. Memories were being made despite a lack of fireworks, technology, amusement parks, character lunches and full schedules.
The last night of our trip by the ocean I got this great idea to cast a “wish” rock and a “worry” rock into the water. Imagine all six of us standing at the edge of the world heaving symbolism into the sea… TOGETHER. Ah. It was setting up perfectly. The sun was completely in sync with me, carefully hanging in the sky to create the snapshot of a lifetime. In my head, this was my Hallmark moment. The pinnacle of a family vacation done well. A forever memory.
I watched on as my boys went running toward the water with their one hope / one concern in hand. My husband right behind them with our toddler set atop his shoulders and I paused for just a moment to help Milana pick out the perfect rocks because a moment like this needs perfect rocks.
“This” I heard my inner voice saying… “This is what it’s all about.”
As Milana and I set off to join the boys – HOLD UP. WAIT A MINUTE. I looked down for a second, maybe two. WHAT the WHAT is HAPPENING??? I got kicked in the shin… the shin of my soul. The men I love and the men I THOUGHT loved me were high tailing it back to stairs that led to our beach house. My moment flattened… the blowfish air sucked right out of it.
I met my husband with a “WHAT, WHY, and HOW could you do this?” He said “What do you mean… we did it.” UMMMM…no. WE did not do it!!! “Yes, I swear, we did it.” You buffoon… we is not half of us… we is all of us and WE need to do it again. For reference: Nothing is more fun that forcing people to re-enact an already unnatural moment for your own self-satisfaction. So needless to say… it was a flop. But it was a flop because of my own doing.
Most, if not all, of my life’s frustrations, heartaches and kicks in the shin are because of unmet expectations. And the frequency of them is solely because I have choreographed these perfect scenarios (code for really high expectations) and unfortunately the people can’t even hear the music...let alone get through the first eight count.
My husband totally missed the beat. He didn’t get the rock throwing… he’s not wired that way. My Lifetime movie moment didn’t register really high on his ‘this is cool’ list. But he is wired in the way of cooking almost all the meals, coaching almost all the teams, demonstrating a life with purpose and partnering with his wife to create a really good life for our family. And so gratefully and graciously hindsight lets him off the hook. That and he accepts me for all my crazy. Too often I’m seeking this perfect moment, relationship, family picture, hair day (the struggle is real) and forget to see that what I already do have is really, really great and perfectly flawed.
Besides, I already had all of the vacation moments I needed to remember – teaching the kids how to make a campfire and the secret to a perfect s’more, taking slow-to-be-brave Blaize on a hike over some rocks, watching Rocco strip down to his skivvies and run with reckless abandon into the piercing cold water and my favorite, climbing as a family up the part sand/part rock mountain and each person helping the other navigate the best path. It was all there. I didn’t need to script some moment for everyone that I really just felt I needed to do myself. Send one wish and one worry out to sea. I’d love to tell you about them but they are gone now. I just have the real stuff to hold on to.
And besides sometimes the best moments are off script.
Hugs and Love,
Kira is a Kansas City wife, mom of four, storyteller + author of the blog www.middlemoments.com