In a Small Room, After All.

Family Togetherness on Vacation

Family trips are always a chance to spend extended time periods with those you love. The togetherness of it can bring out the very best, and very worst, in relationships.

In our family, we almost always travel by car. With eight family members, the cost of flying is pretty high, so we have become accustomed to packing lightly and climbing into the van for our trips. This holds true whether the Mr. is with us, or it’s just me and the “kids.”

For our summer trip back home (again, to Indiana) this year, it is me and the four youngest members of the family. After 13 hours in the car, we arrived at the __________ Suites in ___________, Indiana. We had stayed here on a previous year, but something happened since then. The rooms… got… smaller. Yeah, I know. It was a shock to me too. I remember these rooms being quite big enough for even me and all six of the kids. But, after almost a decade, with the smallest “child” being 5’4″, it’s a very different thing.

The room is small. And it’s all full of people. And it smells a little like mildew. And armpit. And did I mention there are a lot of people in here? We are close together, boy howdy. Not only are we in a small space, but we are always together. Always. Together.

I’ve tried to take this trip as an opportunity, rather than a challenge, focusing on the good and being mindful in the moment. There are a number of take-aways that have arisen from this mindfulness. Most of them I knew before, but they were reaffirmed:

  1. My children are funny people. They tell some really dorky jokes, but mostly I think they are funny. Moreover, they laugh at my jokes.
  2. While there are bound to be squabbles between siblings, when push comes to shove (with little pushing and shoving), they get along really well, even in close quarters.
  3. Teenagers smell.
  4. If you can’t sleep in a hotel room, because there are too many people, it’s a decent opportunity to meditate.
  5. Even teenagers will get out of bed before 9 if the buffet breakfast depends on it.
  6. Peach air freshener cannot cover up mildew smell.
  7. My family has great taste in music. We have had sing-alongs to Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, Flight of the Conchords, Nick Lowe, Squeeze, Patsy Cline, and Violent Femmes, among others. They have rarely put on earphones to block out my music choices.
  8. The whole “eat what is served to you without complaining” policy really pays off on vacation when no one is fussing about meals.
  9. Every one of my kids will volunteer to sleep on the floor if it means that I can get a good night’s sleep.
  10. Even in a tiny, smelly room, I like hanging out with these people.

More to come about this vacation, I’m sure, but those are a few of the lessons I’m relearning.

I hope you have been enjoying your family just as much this week.


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