We spent last week vacationing in Dayton, Ohio. Not the first place that comes to mind when you think “vacation hotspot,” I know, but let me tell you… it was awesome. Dayton is a shrinking industrial city that could surely use some tourist dollars, so feel free to visit, but to be honest the location itself didn’t have much to do with our getaway’s grand success. We stayed in Aaron’s aunt Mary Ann’s Victorian house on a quiet residential block and, save for a few leisurely walks around the neighborhood, did not explore further. I’m normally all about vacation adventure—or at least venturing out (our last vacation was our honeymoon on the coast of Maine, which involved a lot of relaxation, but also some hiking, beach time, etc.) — but this time we were travelling with our nine-week-old baby. Not knowing how he’d take to air travel and a whole host of new experiences, we both felt that making the trip was, in itself, adventure enough.
Thanks to you commenters who passed along tips on flying with infants, the air travel was cake; we door-checked the car seat and held Kaspar in our laps. He slept through both flights, sucking down a bottle at liftoff, and on a binky during landing. I suspect that the engine’s noise and vibration, combined with being held closely and hearing our quiet conversation, created the ideal “fourth trimester” triad in transit.
Aaron’s mom, Emily, flew up from Texas and stayed in Mary Ann’s house, as well (it’s a big house). I’ll say briefly that I am also normally not a fan of spending vacations with extended family, particularly with our parents (as much as we love them). After nine full weeks of very little sleep and keeping up with diapers, feedings, and feeding ourselves, however, the presence of these two doting family members was most welcome. We were fully pampered and provided for. I was able to focus entirely on caring for Kaspar and, well, resting and enjoying everyone’s company. Aside from not needing to cook, clean up, and so forth, stepping out of our everyday lives and habitat enabled me to just leave life’s daily details behind for the time being and take a breath of fresh Ohio air. Plus, Mary Ann is a massage therapist, so I was treated to some time on the table (holy- sh*t-heaven for a new mom).
There’s just something essentially special about having a family’s multiple generations under one roof. We also visited with Aaron’s grandmother—Kaspar’s great-grandmother—while we were there. Kaspar is the first installment of the next generation on both sides of our families, and Aaron’s grandmother is the last surviving member of her generation on either side as well, making that moment uniquely auspicious and memorable.
Thus, our first Newman Family (rather than Newman Couple) vacation went off without a hitch. My work vacation days are folded into my maternity leave, so it’ll be a while before our next lengthy escape. Kaspar will be independently mobile by then, too, giving us new and different considerations in the planning phases.
Where have you gone for family vacations? What’s made them special, successful or unsuccessful? How old are your kids, and what are your best strategies for traveling with them? Where do you want to go next (I’m gunning for Maui)?