Family Celebration & Tad bit of Weirdness
Months ago we were asked to join a 40th wedding anniversary celebration for Mr. MPB’s parents over the Labour Day long weekend. Of course, we said yes.
It was a small celebration – just Mr. MPB’s parent’s and their kids. There were 9 of us in total, which included 3 kids under the age of 3.
It was good. We survived the flying with a toddler. Once we were there, each family had their own cabin in the woods – for the most part, the individual cabins gave us our time and space when we needed it. The adults enjoyed visiting in the evening after the kids went to bed – thankfully the cabins were right next door to each other so we could sit outside with the monitors to keep an eye on the kids. And, the weather cooperated so the evenings outside were beautiful. The two similar aged kids played pretty well together and had so much fun at the park and the beach. Little MPB, who is basically part fish, LOVED playing at the beach. And most importantly, Little MPB loved seeing his grandparents – which is what truly mattered to Mr. MPB and I. One particular moment was really touching – right as we were getting ready to leave to start our travels home, Little MPB ran up to his grandma, gave her a giant hug, and said I love you to her. It was beyond sweet.
And on our last evening, I took a short 20 minute walk by myself on the beach just before sunset. I took my sandals off, walked along the water, dipped my toes in the ocean and played with my camera. I have to admit, it might have been the most peaceful and relaxing 20 minutes I’ve had in the last year.
Since I’m always honest, I have to admit, there were some weird parts though:
- Prior to travelling we had agreed to share meals at a specific cabin due to a sever food allergy that necessitate special care of all food items and the other toddler family knew they could keep their kitchen and food contamination free. Of course we agreed because it just made sense. They offered to pick up all the food so that we didn’t have to fit a trip to the grocery store into our short visit and they could ensure all the food was safe food, and we would just pay them back for our portion. Yet somehow the other toddler family with the food allergy, who was responsible for bringing the food didn’t bring enough for everyone and made a point not to invite anyone over at meal times. So, just them and their kids were well fed. And Little MPB was not. I’m not sure how this significant miscommunication happened, but we ended up making sure Little MPB had food thanks to the snack foods that were in our cabin and left-overs from the planned restaurant meals. The other adults either starved or someone had to race out to buy food or we went for lunch at the last minute. It was strange.
- The other toddler family made absolutely no compromises in their kid’s schedule. Little MPB was somehow expected to deal with jet-leg and adjust to new times for everything – one day he napped at what would have been 5pm at home. He survived like a trooper – naps weren’t great and Little MPB did have one epicly horrible night so the next day I put my foot down and demanded a driving-nap when he needed it, not when it was ideal for everyone else. The poor kid just needed some decent sleep! It felt as though we were expected to just compromise everything because the other toddler family is known to have “horrible sleepers” and we are known to have a “good sleeper”. But we only have a good sleeper when we are at home, not when we are in a strange place, in a different time zone with nearly non-stop activities!
- The grandparents struggled with what I would call appropriate boundaries – as in, they were at our door before 7am everyday, and wanted to hang out all the time, including during bed time. We did have to set some bed-time boundaries, simply because Little MPB needed calm before bed especially considering he was trying to fall asleep in a weird place. As a compromise for bedtimes, I did all of Little MPB’s bedtimes while Mr. MPB visited with his parents outside. As for mornings, we didn’t really compromise – let’s be honest, I doubt anyone enjoys having people at their door before they are even up for the day after a bad night’s sleep, while trying to rush to get out the door for the planned family activity. We just needed that first half hour of the day to sort ourselves out without an unhelpful audience. (The grandparents seemed to respect the boundaries when we started enforcing them, even if it meant having to tell them at 6:30am at our front door to go away).
But honestly, even though there were some weird parts, it was a really good trip. I actually felt like it was too short, and we should have stayed for another day or two. And, we would do it again, but with simple strategies in place, like buying all our own groceries, to limit the weirdness.
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