All I wanted was to read a book or three. So I packed, conservatively I thought, only four. Oh yes, and two magazines. Nothing much. There was, after all, the munchkin-who-hates-car-rides to think about, and the possibility of discussion with silent hubby. We also had three audio books (I am an extreme optimist), just in case. Twelve hours on the road, one way, and then two-and-a-half days once we got there – plenty of time in there to curl up with a book.


What I was forgetting was that we were seeing relatives we see single-digit times each year. What I was forgetting was that Toddler-tron is not yet able to ride long distances without help from an entertainer-type. What I was forgetting was that, in the dark, you can’t read a book unless you turn on a light, and that an audio book will disturb the snoozing toddler.

Consequently, I spent three hours of dark she-slept time alone with my thoughts. It was an interesting practice, and very reminiscent of Adoration. I should have slept, you might be thinking. But wait, this was worth staying awake for! For one thing, I observed that lightening bugs do not stop their fireworks even at 3 AM. If it’s dark, they’re out there doing their thing. I never even thought to ask this! I just assumed that, in the very stillest part of the night, everything was tucked away.

For another thing, I was able to practice holding thoughts in my head – topics to post, ways to guard myself against some of those relatives who might just do their best to get right under my skin in 60 seconds or less, ideas for pictures to make sure and take, things I wanted to talk to my husband about. Usually, I’m helpless without a list, which feels a lot like mental laziness to me. I’m not condemning lists at all. Rather, I have felt like I could do the mental gymnastics if only I practiced. (Now, to find a way to start practicing physical exercise – *hysterical laughter*)

So perhaps vacation is not for reading a book or three. It is time away, and when it’s time away, it’s a measure of exhaustion on top of all else. Perhaps vacation is for recharging some part of who we are, for spending good old-fashioned time together, for talking and eating and laughing and beach-going. Maybe books are the optional part of a vacation.

Now why does this make me feel nostalgic?