… You are in bed by 9 p.m. because you are just that exhausted.
… Every trip to the pool or beach involves an unintentional underwater experience that strikes fear into your heart and shakes the child to his or her core.
… Bedtime is somehow harder.
… Sand. Everywhere.
… Seriously. Sand gets in everything and every body area and every item of clothing.
… You drink your wine at 2 p.m. because it’s the only time the kids are having down time and your eyes are still open.
… The thought of cooking dinner is awful. But so is the thought of going to a restaurant you don’t know. So you order take out almost every night and hope for the best.
… Vacation? What vacation?
… You get dirty looks for being THAT PARENT still using the spray sunscreen instead of the lotion because OF COURSE you left the lotion at home.
… It seems impossible, but you do even more laundry than you would at home.
… A run on the beach by yourself is exactly 1 million times sweeter than it was before you had children.
… You will go for said run barefoot because the old running shoes you brought gave you blisters but the searing pain is still worth the hour of alone time.
… And you will volunteer to run with the baby in the jogger later that afternoon because you know she will fall asleep and you will again get a little bit of quiet time.
… You longingly look at a book/e-reader every night as you drift off to sleep, feeling sad that YET AGAIN you didn’t get a minute to start reading that thing your sister-in-law keeps telling you to dive into while on vacation.
… You will spend more time packing the floats, towels, sunscreen, changes of clothes, swim diapers, snacks, wipes, drinks, water shoes, blanket, canopy, Coast Guard-approved flotation devices and water toys than you actually will at the beach.
… You almost cry when the family members you are with offer to watch the kids for an hour so you and your spouse can go to breakfast alone.
… Dessert happens every night. Even when all the kids eat is a graham cracker and slice of cheese.
… And sometimes you sneak an extra dessert for yourself, but you eat it behind closed doors so the kids don’t see it and demand to have more, aka extend their sugar high.
… 5 a.m. is bright, warm and filled with the shrieks of children asking if the ocean is open yet.
… The kids get to watch TV a little more than usual because, well, it’s their vacation, too, and that’s what they want to do.
… Every day there are no fewer than 300 photo-worthy moments and you are so overwhelmed when trying to decide which to post to Facebook that you accidentally delete half of them but decide that it’s 2 p.m. and time to drink wine, anyway, so no big deal.
… You realize that even though vacations are much less relaxing now than they were then, you are creating memories that will forever live someplace in your heart. And though you spent more money on food and wine (It’s vacation! Get the expensive bottle!) than you did on the vacation house itself, you know that you can’t put a price on getting to spend time in a beautiful place with the most important people in your life. You start to cherish every second of vacation a little bit more, knowing that your kids will never look this way and be this young again.
… But you still kind of long for the calmer, carefree vacations of years past. Just a little bit.