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Family Vacation from Hell: Putting a Positive Spin on Things

Posted by Emmie

We just returned from a fun-filled, yet relaxing vacation camping near the beach. The traffic was non-existent, the weather was great, the kids all got along and even thanked us!

Oh, wait! That wasn’t OUR vacation!

We have spent the past several years tent camping, and the boys really love the camp ground we go to, not far from the beach. We decided this year to rent a cabin instead so we could at least have air conditioning. We reserved this back in February. It turns out that we picked the hottest week of the year, with a heat index of 115, to go. The ice in the cooler melted faster than we could put it in! The heat does wonders to 6 people crammed together in a tiny space.

I don’t know what it is about vacations that we all seem to forget that we are going to be with the same people we see every day. When everyone is struggling to get along at home, what makes us think we can get along in a new environment, agree to do the same things and be respectful of one another?

We decided to cut our vacation short by one day. By that point everyone was ready to go home. We were hot, tired and I had come down with hives from head to toe. We do not know what from, but my suspicion is stress!

My stepson, who is 15, immediately wrote in his blog what a horrible vacation we had. I responded by accentuating the positive and really put a different spin on what he was focusing on.

For starters, the traffic really was great, coming and going. Also, due to the extreme heat, my husband and I spent more time in the pool and ocean with the kids than ever before. Usually we lay poolside or on the beach and read, hop in when we need to cool off, but that’s it. Not this year! The youngest got to really utilize the instructional swimming skills he learned at camp this summer. Although he complained every day about how he hated instructional swim, he was glad to be able to finally swim in the deep end this year with his brothers. He also got to participate in a “surf and sand club” each morning, where he got to play games and do art projects. That also gave the older kids a chance to sleep in and eat a relaxing breakfast. My oldest, who is 21, is an aspiring chef. We had beef-kabobs, chicken-kabobs, burgers, & hot dogs for dinner and bacon and eggs and pancakes for breakfast. We had S’mores in the evenings. This was the first year that the fire started with no problems. The men-folk discovered some long lost secret and were amazed by their fire power abilities! We went to a Smorgasbord that has become a yearly tradition that everyone looks forward to. My 15-year-old with Type 1 Diabetes had been worrying for months about eating out on vacation, and especially worried about not enjoying the Smorgasbord. He found out he really could eat what he wanted!

Although there was lots of bickering (and did I mention how hot we were?) I think it was a memorable vacation. We may all define memorable in our own way, but it definitely was a vacation we will remember for years to come. It might be that we go to the same place each year, or it might be that a full week is too long, but we are already brainstorming about next year’s vacation…

What’s the best (or worst) family vacation you’ve ever been on?


About Emmie

I am a mom of two boys, ages 16 and 22, both with ADHD, bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression. I have remarried and my husband has 2 boys, ages 13 and 16. The 13 year old lives with us, and has some behavioral problems and attachment issues. There is always something happening at our house!

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