It's no vacation without daddy

I'm three days into a 10-day summer trip to Florida with my kids --without the help of my husband, who's back home working (but let's admit a house without four kids IS a vacation).

But without daddy, vacation is just a lot more work - we picked up our lives and moved them to a place with palm trees and added extra sibling drama (being in the sun all day causes bigger meltdowns) with a splash of sand in everyone's butt crack. Don't get me wrong, we're having some fun, but not without some scolding and tantrums --theirs and mine (who the hell sits on a beach right in front of a slew of kids and starts smoking a cigar? Not today buddy! Not in front of this mom!)

I don't know how single mothers do this crap alone on a daily basis, but I feel like a beaten, drown rat. I know I look like one. While I do have a sitter for a few days to help me on this trip, being a mom 24-7 without daddy to rescue me when I'm tired, exasperated or ready to cry really does suck.

Daddy is the good guy. He plays better. His temper isn't as short as mine. He can easily turn whining into laughing. He makes goofy faces behind my back to make them laugh and he shows the kids his sick (dorky) dance moves when they're in the tub. He fixes good sandwiches and pours us drinks right when we need them (around 10:30 a.m. beach time).

He also tends to remember minor things - like taking the suitcase out of the overhead bin before de-planing with four kids (note to mothers traveling alone with kids: the TSA agents in Fort Myers don't take too kindly to the hot mess mom who runs back from baggage claim flailing past that 'DO NOT TURN AROUND' tape as she proceeds to bang on the doors of the terminal yelling over the alarms about how her bag is still on the plane).
But the kids all got off the plane with iPads and backpacks, blankies and pink dolly, so that's a win for me.

He knows pointless things, like weather forecasts - which would have come in handy late afternoon before a brand new beach canopy was sucked up in a monsoon storm and spit out into the Gulf of Mexico before I ever got a chance to bring it in.

One of the twins reminded me how daddy made a little sandcastle with her last time he came to the beach with us, and it was apparently better than the drippy castle I made today because he found a feather for a flag on top. The kids miss playing in the water with him and how he takes them out looking for shells. Daddy doesn't slather on the sunscreen every hour like their mean mom (that's what one of the girls called me the other day) and Daddy probably wouldn't freak out when a little someone colored on the condo bedspread with orange crayon either!

He is the calm to my hyper. He is the breath of fresh air to my regimented fun. He is our laughter and silly on vacation. He completes the vacation. I suppose that's why it doesn't feel like a vacation without him. I suppose the best thing about being on this trip this week is realizing I'm thankful I have him at all, because honestly I'd either be in a looney bin or jail without him... probably missing those sandy butt cracks.


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