How not to relax on vacation.
Published: May 28, 2019
By: Cheryl Maguire
It used to be easy to relax. All I needed was to be near a body of water with a towel and my music. As a mom to three children, this scenario is no longer possible.
During a recent trip to the beach, a woman said to me that I looked like I was pushing a circus cart due to the multitude of bags and other items hanging off my beach buggy. It had taken me a half-hour to pack all the food and drinks, which would rival the survival stash of most doomsday-preppers.
To reclaim some sanity I booked a family vacation to a tropical paradise. I dreamed of this trip while helping my kids with their homework or arbitrating their latest sibling disagreement. Anytime I felt stressed, I would envision myself basking in the sun with my music.
Vacation day arrived. The kids wanted to go to the pool, but I was determined to unwind. I grabbed three towels to make sure my poolside lounge chair was properly cushioned. The fact I wouldn’t need to launder them later made me reach for another one. No laundry for a full week!
Finally, I lay down, closed my eyes and inhaled the sweet humid air. The hot sun covered me like a warm blanket.
Then the rays were blocked by something. Was it a cloud? Water drops descended onto my arm. Was it rain? No, my children were hovering at my side, dripping pool water all over me and my four towels.
Panic set in. I thought to myself: “I don’t want to get wet. Please don’t ask me to go into the pool. Gasp!”
In unison, my daughters asked : “Mom do you want to ride on ‘The Relaxa 100’? You relax on the raft while we push you around!”
I was skeptical. This sounded relaxing, but children and relaxing is an oxymoron. After some hesitation, I warily agreed. I leaned back against the raft, nervous about what might happen next.
The arguing began immediately.
“No, this way,” my daughter said. “I want to go this way.”
The older one ignored her and went in the opposite direction. Because she is stronger, the raft went her way. I couldn’t see her face, but I could tell there was a smirk on it.
“You need to go over here,” my youngest daughter demanded, louder now and in my ear.
Water splashed in my face as she forcefully attempted to steer the sinking ship… I mean, raft.
“I thought this was called ‘The Relaxa 100,’” I said loudly. “There is nothing relaxing about this!”
“We need to show her the other side of the pool,” my younger daughter argued.
“Does it really matter which side we go to? The pool is shaped like a square. Doesn’t the definition of a square mean that all sides are the same?” I asked, trying to defuse the situation.
“No, this side is better over here, the youngest insisted.”
“Whatever. This is boring,” my older daughter said, and then she swam away.
My younger daughter pushed the raft to the stairs with such force that I ended up being rolled off into the cold water. Where was this massive muscle when her sister was at the helm? Of course, I got wet — did I really think I would stay dry in a pool filled with children?
I thought to myself: “At least I didn’t have to wash all those towels. And there was still a week ahead of me. Maybe, just maybe, I would be able to lie uninterrupted in the sun for
It’s a vacation, I can dream.