I e-mailed my cousin in Pennsylvania the other day, mentioning that we were going to be visiting family in Virginia around Easter and that I wanted to try and get together with her and her family. I mentioned that we were planning on trying to hit up an amusement park during our visit, and she kindly reminded me that amusement parks aren't open year-round up there. I was shocked.
I am such a Florida girl - the only thing that closes for the winter down here are water parks. And lo and behold, I checked the web and both big parks are closed while we are there. And the amusement park was the only thing we had really planned to do while we were up there, so I decided to scope out a plan 'B' and discovered that there is an aquarium right there in town, and a really cool children's museum nearby. And of course colonial Williamsburg (which I love), and we could go to Washington, DC. I am so excited now! I have requested visitor's guides from Williamsburg and Washington, so we can look through them and Bella can get excited.
I really want Bella to enjoy this trip. I am ashamed to say she has never been on a real vacation like this, ever, in her entire life. This will be our first real vacation as a family. She has taken little weekend trips here and there, to Tampa to visit family and to Louisiana to visit family and so on, but never with my husband and I - always with her Auntie or Maw-Maw & Paw-Paw. She has never done anything like this, and I am very excited for her, and for us. She has been to the museums and little attractions here in town, and that's really about it, as far as all that goes. This is a chance for her to see things she has never seen before, things that will be new and exciting and educational and a chance to make memories that she can hold on to for the rest of her life. Bubba, too, of course, but at 14 months he won't remember much of the trip.
There is a slight problem, though. My sister-in-law, who is currently pregnant and due to give birth around Valentine's Day, feels a little out of sorts about us making plans for these day trips (except DC - we would probably stay overnight there, for one night). When I mentioned to her the places we are interested in going while we are up there she reminded me that we will be up there to see her and her husband and their new baby.
I get that, I do, but I don't think she has anything to worry about - we will all be spending plenty of time together. I'm actually thinking of her and her husband, too, and the fact that they might appreciate having some time without all of us in their house, especially since they will have a (roughly) six week old baby. There will be six adults and three children aged 6 and under all in the same house. And those nine people will be crammed into a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment. For eight days. So yes, I think getting out and about and doing something fun will be necessary to stay sane.
When I mentioned the above to her she said that there is all kinds of shopping in the area that we could do. I'm sorry, I'm not going to ride in a car for fifteen hours with my kids, my husband, and my in-laws to go to a mall (unless it's the National Mall in DC). I can shop at home. I said something about them coming with us on one, or more, or all of these day trips - after all, 6-week old babies are portable. But my in-laws are old-school catholics that don't believe in taking the baby out (further than the mall, apparently) before it's been baptized and they aren't certain if the baby will be baptized by that point.
This is her first baby, though, so I don't think she gets it yet. How your life is completely and utterly turned upside-down, no matter how much you think you know what to expect. How your hormones are still supercharged even six weeks after giving birth. How difficult daily life will be with a new baby and six extra people, making noise and making messes. How after two days she will be ready for us to leave, possibly almost desperate for us to leave. Wasn't it Benjamin Franklin that said something about "guests, like fish, smell after three days"? That Ben Franklin was a smart guy, he knew what he was talking about. I'm shooting for a nice blend of activity and leisure. Enough time spent around the house to relax, and enough time spent out of the house to see the sights, burn off some energy and hopefully avoid killing each other.
So am I wrong? I mean, seriously, am I? I'm not looking for validation here, I genuinely want to know if I'm possibly overlooking my SIL's feelings and selfishly forging ahead with a plan that makes them feel like we don't want to spend time with them, or that we won't spend time with them. My goodness, we will be getting there on Friday afternoon and will be together all of Easter weekend, with no plans but church, so that is a great start right there. And by the time Monday rolls around I have a feeling she will agree that we all need to get out. But I don't want to make her feel bad. We'll see.