Packing Just for Me: An Empty Nest Vacation

3 years ago

Vacation. Spending quality time with family, touring exciting cities, hiking new mountains, and tasting new foods are all images that are conjured up when I think of a vacation. I love just about everything about a vacation: no dishes to clean, no beds to make, no laundry to wash, no time schedule that needs to be adhered to -- and the list could go on and on.

But the idea of getting there is what stops me dead in my tracks. I panic at the mere thought of having to pack. Procrastination sets in and I can’t seem to even decide which suitcases to bring. Then my mind flashes forward to time in the airport trying to provide entertainment and supervising the numerous trips to the bathroom or nagging about an iPod that’s too loud or feet bumping against my seat. But wait! It suddenly hits me like a ton of bricks: I’m going on this trip sans children.

This very moment I feel a sense of loss. There is no need to pack baggies of Goldfish crackers, mini water bottles and plenty of underwear for the little ones. In the later years, the needs changed. Still, there was no need for granola bars, phone chargers and spending money for all. I take a deep breath and realize I am packing for only me.

Credit: polkadotcreations.

Back on track, I pull my chosen suitcase (yes, that is only one!) and commence the new packing ritual. I check off the items off my new adult’s only packing list:

  • Toiletries -- ranging from toothpaste to fancy night cream
  • Pajamas -- the nice ones that normally shouldn’t be worn around the children
  • Shoes -- lots of them since I don’t have to squeeze my daughters’ extra ones in my bags
  • Clothing -- including several evening dresses because a jazz bar will be in my future!
  • Snacks -- flavored mini vodka bottles
  • My Computer -- filled with addresses, phone numbers and Skype contacts so I can be within reach of my daughters whom I will miss so terribly much.

Long gone are the days of playing car bingo and singing to the car radio. No more nights of ordering pizza in bed or giggling after lights out. Remembering their "oohs" and "ahhs" when seeing something for the first time will always resound in my mind.

Redefining vacation without my daughters may prove to be a challenge, but I think I am prepared for the task. Life is constantly changing and I understand growth needs to happen. Thank goodness for social media, cell phones, and Skype!


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