They’ve grown accustomed to this new ritual.
Mama planned another trip for the family, since everyone enjoyed last year’s trip. And if that wasn’t enough, we even went to Disneyland on the way down. Mama and Nashi had gone once for half a day many years ago, and this time Papaya and I got to join the party.
We took three days to make our way to Anaheim, and started day four heading towards the front gates by 8am at opening. Mama and Nashi only lasted hours on their last visit, so I was expecting about the same. Instead, we all managed to make it a twelve hour day at the park. Nashi’s favorites were Indiana Jones and the various Star Wars rides. Papaya loved the circular rides like Dumbo and the horse carousel, as well as all the little rides like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. I’m surprised Nashi liked the more intense rides, especially Indiana Jones, and I still can’t believe we were there from 8am to 8pm.
A relatively short drive the next day brought us to our destination, this time in the Rancho Mirage neighborhood. We’ve also had an upgrade to our digs: bigger pool, more outdoor seating, more privacy, view of a mountain, and the addition of a hot tub. And the best amenity of them all: a gas stove. I’ve suffered an electric stove the past three years, and getting my hands back on gas is an incredible luxury.
We did all the usual things from last year: day trips to Indian Canyons and Joshua Tree, listening to the Rat Pack, and celebrating a bright and sunny Thanksgiving. We also expected a near constant use of the pool like last year, but they ended up using it a lot less this time. They didn’t even go in every day, declaring some days as “not a pool day.” Also, by the time we were two or three weeks into the trip, they both began asking about going home. This, despite the hot sunny days and all the upgraded amenities.
We realized that a big difference from last time is the kids were both remote at the time, and not participating in any other activities in person, making the trip just a really nice change in scenery. This time, however, they’re both at school in person and attending other activities, not to mention seeing friends. To go from that to just the four of us for a month straight maybe turned this into a family vacation that went on a little too long. They’ve also been fighting a lot lately, to be covered in another update, and having no one but each other around the clock hasn’t exactly helped.
Nashi’s school was also not terribly excited about the month long leave (an unexcused absence, they call it) so all signs are pointing to this being the last vacation of this duration during the school year that we’ll be going on. Still, it was still a great trip in my opinion. Mama got to get some sun during the time of year she hates being in Seattle. And aside from the fighting, it was still nice to have all that family time without going from one activity to the next. It’s also been a good check in with the kids. A lot of time to experience where they are developmentally and what areas they need support as they keep getting bigger.
We took five days to make it home, making stops at sand dunes, San Francisco, and even Santa Rosa, which let me sneak off one night to sample all the beers at Russian River Brewing. Long drives still aren’t exactly a joy with kids, but they’re way better than a few years ago and I’d say, no longer something to dread. We made it home safe and sound, and even rounded out the trip with a round of COVID shots on the evening of our return home.