On Compromise, Stream of Consciousness and Preoccupation

In lieu of the standard apology that I have traditionally administered in the past after prolonged and unexpected blog absences I thought I'd take a different approach here. Dive right into the stream of consciousness that has been keeping me preoccupied and away from the computer. No redress or mea culpa, just this. Me. Away. From home and from this place. But I'm back now. And if it's all the same to you, I'd like to talk about it. Any parent knows that the word vacation is a misnomer. There's no vacation from early rising toddlers or moody adolescent 'tweens. I don't know about your kids but mine need to be fed (at least) three times a day and even with the overwhelming success of my first vegetable garden—someone still needs to go grocery shopping (apparently cherry tomatoes and cucumbers aren't enough to live on).  Laundry doesn't clean itself just because it's vacation and toilet training tushies need wiping even in paradise. (Too much information?) It doesn't matter where we are, someone needs to intervene when my children are bickering, and traveling or not, if someone is sick, I'm the designated nurse.

This isn't a list of complaints, and I'm sure none of it is news to you. (It is, however, the reason that I'm in favor of leaving the kids with the in-laws or, in our crazy flavor of blended family madness, my ex-husband, and escaping real life for a weekend every now and again. But I digress.)

So we go on vacation and we don't exactly take a break, but—and here's the thing—we do it all in a different place.

In the past I've made no secret here that our lives are full of compromise. We don't live in our perfect house or work at our dream jobs and times are tough. We've made choices and we're making them work. Mostly. And it's not always pretty. When we can, we go pretty places. Like this month. We went here:

I've been coming to this place or some place just like it since I was a child. Visiting with my own children carries with it equal elements of peace and longing. Hard as I try I still haven't mastered the art of soaking enough of it in to be able to draw it back to the surface in the heavy darkness of a January afternoon. When I'm in it I spend rather a lot of time trying to come to terms with why we ever have to go home. The dichotomy between vacation and real life doesn't make any sense when we're standing on the beach at sunset.

How does vacation mean places that that inspire our senses and ignite our spent fires, and home means compromising on such things?

But it does. And we do.

I'm hoping this year when the inevitable weight of that January afternoon settles on my chest these photos* will bring me back. And if not? Well, there's always next summer.

*Please note that if you aren't interested in more photos of my lost month of August you may wish to avert your eyes for the next few posts since that's mostly what I've got in store.