You Don’t Have To Squeeze One More Thing In

Yes, it’s true you only get so much time with them. Yes, it’s true you flew halfway around the world for this trip, you took time off work. Yes, it’s true that it’s convenient, that it will only take a few minutes, and save you a lot of trouble. Yes, it’s true that it could be a special experience they remember forever.

But you know what else it could be?

It could be too much. It could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, the thing that pushes the toddler firmly into overstimulated/overtired territory, the thing that leads to the argument with your spouse, the thing that your teenager remembers and sours them on family outings.

Our itinerary does not have to be jam packed. Our vacations don’t have to be efficient or fulfill a checklist. Just because we’re in the neighborhood, doesn’t mean we have to do it now. In fact, we should be wary of trying to squeeze one more thing in–it’s an impulse that so often comes from a place of guilt, of comparing ourselves to other people, of ignoring all the context clues around us (about how tired or hungry or done our kids have been telling us they are, either in word or deed).

Call it a day. Call it a successful outing. Stop while you’re ahead. Get to the rest later, get to it next summer, do it after they’re asleep, do it when you’re back at work. Or you know what? Don’t do it at all. Because it’s probably extra.

You’ll be grateful for the restraint. So will they.

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