It’s been a very long time since we’ve taken a real vacation.
We’ve been away a few times, certainly – we travel to visit my family a few states away, and we’ve been once to Florida to go visit family a few years ago, before the Monster had his diagnosis. But we haven’t tried to take a real vacation, the kind that normal families take when they’re trying to escape the daily grind.
Part of this has been trying to figure out how we’d even manage something more than a day-trip, given how disruptions to the schedule seems to cause trouble. Moreover, there’s the looming, larger issue of logistics during the trip – how would we handle transportation, activities, etc – especially if we’re talking a multi-day trip far from our home.
We think we’ve settled on the driving issue. While it massively extends the travel portion of the trip, it allows us more flexibility in stopping if we need a break, and minimizes how many people we’re going to piss off with a meltdown in transit if it happens. (In fairness – we did look into the auto-train for going to Florida. One direction’s just not feasible – the train’s fully booked – and the other direction is just cost-prohibitive unless the Monster either misses school or we cut our vacation shorter. On the other hand, 18 hours on the train almost appeals to me more than having to drive.)
Activities also aren’t so much of a problem, since we have memberships to our local zoo, and just bought season passes to Sesame Place, which will let us into 4 different parks in Florida.
As the wife put it, though – what about us? We can’t really go on rides together if one of us has to watch the children, and having the kids solo with us limits us to being back at the hotel by 7:30 or 8, with little recourse.
So last night, while we were on the couch, she started looking for sitters through SitterCity to see if we can’t find some coverage for at least one date-night while we’re away.
I’m, myself, not quite sure how I feel about this – I’m already awkward enough about the idea of relative strangers watching the kids when we’re here at home, where I have some sense of security and we have time to meet the people before we hire one. Neither of our kids is really horrible about strangers, and we are talking about the idea of either having someone to help us with the kids at the parks, or just watch them for a few hours in the evening so we can go get an adult dinner. (She’s still looking into whether our passes are good for discounted admission for others when we’re not at our ‘home’ park, lest she needs to ask for someone with a season pass or the like.)
I’m sure that other parents have been in the same boat – especially with children on the spectrum as the Monster is – and am open to advice if anyone has it. Likewise, if you’ve done this – please let us know what you did and how it turned out (and what you’d do differently next time!).