It’s the middle of summer and if you haven’t been on vacation yet, you are probably dreaming about one. I started mentally evaluating our vacation history. When I think about vacationing with Jacob I automatically feel stress. Part of that is all the planning that goes into a trip. And all the uncertainty. When you have little ones, you end up packing ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ because you never know what you might need. For some reason, I have approached taking a trip with Jacob like that all of his life. We didn’t aim to take a vacation every year but we made an effort to get away fairly often.
VACATION: an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in traveling.
STAYCATION: a vacation spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.
NEARCATION: taking a vacation to a location relatively close to home.
But when I took time to reminisce, there were many great memories!! Really only one that stood out as bad and I’ll tell about that next week. My mind goes back to the times we vacationed when our boys were young. Traveling with Jacob is easy more times than not. By traveling, I mean the ride in the car or van to and from the destination. That’s his favorite part.
For many years HIS place was the front seat passenger. He loved it and we let him have that spot. That was back when all vehicles had a cassette player. Jacob was in charge of the music. We might as well enjoy it! There were certain songs we’d hear, what seemed like thousands of times, before he’d tire of it and pick another one to repeat. Such as, I’m My Own Grandpa, John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, and It Ain’t Gonna Rain No More, to name a few. Hearing them over and over again brought him so much joy. He was the co-pilot until one day that became dangerous (another blog post for another day). So, often the best part of a trip for Jacob was the ride.
We tried a few beach trips. Jacob didn’t love the sand but he’d find something to entertain himself. Recollections from his toddler years are sweet.
One beach vacation led to the scary moment when Jacob walked out of the hotel room alone. LINK: https://problemfreephilosophy.blog/2019/01/17/run-away-pain/
But we counted it as a great vacation. My brother’s family went with us and with our boys together, it was a blast. Jacob mainly watched video tapes in the room. That trip it seemed Fun with Music was his tape of choice. And his song of choice was Why Should I Worry from Oliver and Company.
Why should I worry? Why should I care? I may not have a dime But I got street savoire faire!
That trip, THAT song was stuck on continuous loop in all our heads!! And it’s a good policy to adopt. In the same category of Jacob’s problem free philosophy. Scripture cautions us against worry. Jacob reminded us of that, even though none of us had street savoire faire!! Or even knew what it was!!
We also took some mountain vacations in Tennessee, New Mexico, and Colorado which were all enjoyable. Both in the summer and in the winter with snow on the ground. He has been on some exciting trips making great memories.
For one of the Colorado trips we had a portable DVD player in the van (before vehicles came with built-in players) and he watched Cat in the Hat no less than 48 hours total. Which, you guessed it, we heard it and had all memorized every sentence. The sun did not ____, it was too wet to ____, so we sat in the house all that ____, ____, ____, day. I bet you can fill in the blanks if you’ve heard it repeatedly!!
And then there were trips to Disney. Were we crazy???? Disney = crowds! Why would we expose ourselves or Jacob to that nightmare? Many years ago I had heard that Disney worked extra hard to accommodate those with disabilities. Prior to our trip, I contacted a representative and got the information we’d need to essentially fast track. Which meant short wait time for rides and front row viewing at parades.
It was wonderful! Each Disney employee we encountered truly went above and beyond to help us. One trip was especially great because we let Josh invite a friend, PLUS we took my 82 y/o grandmother. Jacob was 19 then and he and my grandmother rode in wheelchairs. Although both were mobile, it made it easier to move around the park quickly. It was a fantastic trip for everyone.
Jacob has never been on an airplane or cruise around the ocean. But, I think the trips he has taken, have left him with wonderful memories. One place, in particular though, is probably his favorite. For many years, my family had a place in the country about an hour from our home. It wasn’t fancy and didn’t offer any spectacular things to do. It was just somewhere to go and relax. Often Jacob would get out his suitcase and we knew exactly where he wanted to go. We’d have to avoid talking about it in his presence until we were loading the car because he was ready to leave the moment he knew what was about to happen whether we were packed or not. I’m sure when he thinks about trips he has been on, his mind goes there first. Given the choice, I think he’d vote for a nearcation.
In all of this, I’d encourage families to just try. One of our Colorado trips, I secured a sitter through an agency prior to our arrival. There were a few outings Jacob wouldn’t be able to participate in that made hiring someone to help out a wise decision. Get this – the scheduled sitter had reviewed my notes about Jacob’s likes and dislikes and walked into the condo with a dozen fresh eggs from her farm. All because I listed scrambled eggs as something he loved. That’s part of my sweet memories of taking a chance and being so glad I did!! My regrets involve too often taking the easy way out and not exposing Jacob to more. Go where you can, when you can, and make memories! Vacations don’t have to be abroad. Be intentional about spending time with your family. Who knows? You may learn all the words to someone else’s favorite song or movie!!