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Remember when vacation was relaxing?

Posted Dec 29 2010 9:44am

I bet it’s a vague and distant memory for you the same way it is me.

I used to LOVE staying in hotels. I don’t know why, necessarily, but there was always something exciting to me about the clean, freshly made beds, the indoor pools, the fact that the room is magically clean at the end of each day.

Not any more.

Well, that is not exactly true – I still love to stay in hotels by myself or with my husband… but with my kids? Not so much.

We’ve been on a short trip for the last few days to visit family, and it has been a test of our patience, to put it mildly. The crowning event, though, was the first night we were away. We had had a long drive, followed by a short trip to the zoo (zomg it was cold but we were desperate for somewhere for the kids to run around!) and a visit with Great-Grandpa, and by the time we got back to our hotel room, we were all exhausted.

The night started out well – the kids both fell asleep easily in the same bed, and Andy and I managed to keep just enough light on to be able to read our books until we got drowsy. The first problem, however, was that I couldn’t actually get to sleep. My mind was racing and I could not stop worrying about completely inconsequential things. Finally it occurred to me that within an hour of bedtime, I had consumed 32 ounces of Diet Coke. Once I determined that this was the problem, I was able to settle down enough to actually get some sleep.

Which is when Sam woke up. He came over to get in bed with us, and after a few minutes of elbows in my ribs, I decided to get in bed with Kate.

Which was not at all cool with her. She’s got a queen bed in her room (because that’s what we had when she was ready for a big girl bed) and apparently she likes to use every square inch, and she was not amused about me intruding on her space.

Not that I was too thrilled with it either, but at that point my alternatives were bed with Kate or the arm chair. I should have gone for the arm chair.

So, the two of us tossed and turned and scooted each other over and griped for hours. It was awful. She was whiny and loud (which was not amusing since her brother was 2 feet away) and I was tired and grumpy and – quite frankly – mean.

I am seriously glad I don’t have a video of those few hours, because I would not want to relive my behavior. I must have said “Kate! Go to SLEEP!” about 4000 times, which is ironic because clearly I should have known that just going to sleep isn’t always the easiest thing to do. But, like I said, I was tired and annoyed and it was not my finest moment.

Even as this was going on, I wondered to myself why I can’t always seem to show compassion. Rather than automatically turning the “annoyed” switch on, it seems as though I should be able to muster up the strength to turn on the “compassion” switch. Not just with Kate, but with Andy and Sam and pretty much everyone else I come in contact with.

I knew my behavior was appalling even as it was going on, but I was having a really hard time turning it around, which happens a lot – not always in the middle of the night! I know that we moms set the stage for the mood of the entire family. I know that’s the case and I recognize that when I am grumpy and short with Andy or the kids, they assume that attitude and are grumpy and short with each other. Yet sometimes that knowledge, that nagging thought in the back of my mind, is not enough for me to pull myself out of whatever funk I’m in. I don’t know why that’s the case, and it concerns me. I am really not good at putting on my happy face and this whole things seems to be becoming more and more of a problem.

But back to my story. Eventually, I was able to calm myself down enough to just pull Kate close and snuggle her, to speak kindly and to help her settle in and get some sleep. Soon, in the wee hours of the morning, we both finally fell asleep.

And then the hotel’s fire alarm went off.

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