Let me explain.
I am a perfectionist. I have made that known throughout my writings and although most days that serves me well - when it comes to vacations, perfectionism is NOT a great aptitude.
You see, I love to plan trips. I could have been a Travel Planner in another life because just the thought of taking a trip sets my wheels in motion. I love everything about planning trips from finding just the right location to setting up events and activities to be done throughout the week.
I OBSESS over planning vacations. And perhaps because my vision of the trip during this planning process is always perfect, I expect the trip to be perfect as well.
Well, I don't know how many "perfect" family vacations you have ever taken but my count is at ZERO! I go into each vacation with such high expectations that when things start to fall apart - I fall apart. Literally.
I was not raised in a very loving household and my parents disappointed me on more than one occasion. So when I was blessed with becoming a mom, I was certain that I would do everything within my power NOT to disappoint my children and this included providing them with some fun "family moments" throughout their lives.
Partner this "need to please" with my perfectionism and you have a true recipe for disaster. Throw in the whole "control freak" factor and things are really headed for a downward spiral.
You see, what I could never allow myself to let go of was the fact that some things are out of my control. Literally.
The weather, for instance. Completely out of my control. So when I finally saved enough money to take my family on a cruise to the Bahamas and they had the COLDEST WINTER on record in 100 years - out of my control.
The crowd sizes at amusement parks - out of my control. So when I take my children to Universal Studios and have a nervous breakdown because the extreme crowd sizes are affecting MY schedule - out of my control.
Or there was the time we were visiting Nashville and my kids weren't very impressed with the town which I took personally so I dropped them and my husband at the hotel and took off. Yeah, that one is on me.
Here is my point: I am learning every day what is truly important in life and what things simply do not matter. I am BEYOND BLESSED to be able to take my family on a vacation so the weather or crowds or even if someone likes the location or not - none of that should matter to me. It is nothing personal.
Nothing personal. Truer words were never written because throughout my life I have had a tendency to take most things (okay - EVERYTHING) personally. I have spent my life being a people pleaser and needed the approval of those around me in order to thrive.
It has taken me 48 years to figure it out but I finally get it. This trip is not about being perfect - it's about spending time with my family and feeling the love we share. Will the weather be bad? Probably. Will we fight crowds at the attractions? Most likely. But I can't control those things.
What I CAN control is my attitude. And I am choosing to enjoy this time and finally have a family vacation free of a mental break-down. I finally get it - I finally understand. There are so many things outside of my control and that is okay. But controlling my attitude is the key to the family vacation I have been searching for.
My family doesn't need the perfect vacation - they just need me. And my attempt to make the vacation "perfect" was actually ruining it for them.
So I have promised my family and myself that this time - finally - it will be different. No expectations. No plans. Just time spent with the family - drama free.
Check back next week for an update and see if I was able to make it happen!