90+% of the time that we go on vacation, we go to see family. This is for several reasons:
1. They are important to us, and we want to be with them
2. We don’t get to see them nearly often enough
3. We want our kids to be connected to the Family Tree, not just our branch
4. It’s cheaper than a hotel and fast food
5. It takes almost no planning at all
However, both my parents and my wife’s parents live quite some distance from us. We live in Western New York, my parents in Western North Carolina and my wife’s parents in Western Kentucky. We are all west of somewhere, but then who isn’t? It takes us approximately 11 hours to get to my parents and around 13 hours to get to my wife’s.
We enjoy a vastly different experience at the different sets of grandparents. My parents live on a gravel road in the middle of land owned by our family since the Civil War and before. Their “farm” (the name has lasted through over 40 years of non-farming reality) is adjacent to the South Fork of the New River, contains a year-round creek that runs through the heart of the property, woods, fields and thousands of family memories. A trip to the Farm usually consists of the hunting of crawdads, the canoeing of the New River, puttering around in their garden, walking the hills and trails and some sort of buidling/repair project.
Ashley’s parents are currently in their fourth home in the same town, which they are the first of their family to live in. They love shopping, going to the movies, playing with the grandkids, traveling and giving gifts to those they love (oddly enough, that even includes me!) Two vastly different experiences. One rural, the other urban, or at least sub-urban. One focused on activity, the other on relationship. Both are wonderful, both are exhausting…or at least the long drive home with four kids in the minivan certainly is.
This is why several years ago we initiated the Recovery Day.
Recovery Day is the last day of vacation, and it must be at home. This day enables a later than normal rising from bed, a top-to-bottom cleaning of the van, a doing of laundry, a catching up on school work and most importantly – sleeping in our own beds prior to returning to the normal workaday reality. It allows for a stress-less reentry, and keeps you from feeling you need a vacation to recover from, well, your vacation.