By Jing Lejano

 

When I first took a vacation with my sisters many, many years ago, I had to be persuaded. At the time, the idea of going on vacation without my children was foreign to me. We always went everywhere together, which meant, of course, that I was never able to have a proper vacation.

It starts with the packing. I had to make sure that everybody had the appropriate number of shirts and shorts and jammies and undies. If we were traveling somewhere warm, then swimsuits and towels and sunscreen and burn ointments must be taken care of. If we were traveling somewhere cold, then jackets and pants are mandatory. We’re not even talking about their vitamins and medicines, and when we still had a baby, diapers and bottles.

I remember running after them on the beach, making sure they didn’t go too far from the shore.  I remember walking behind them as they ran through hills, making sure nobody loses a footing—and being there if by chance they do. I remember feeding them, bathing them, and then putting them all to sleep, and remembering that hey, we are actually on vacation. Or at least, they are.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized that I needed a break—badly. And that’s when it dawned on me: I have to go on vacation, a real one!

On our first day out, I was so happy not to be bothered by the knock of little fingers while I was in the bathroom. It was an absolute joy not to have any itinerary or any real agenda. I slept. I ate. I swam. I lied down on the sand, and made castles. It was glorious!

Today, I know better. Whether it’s a three-day trip or a two-hour appointment at the spa, I know that the best way that I could take care of my children is to take care of myself first.

 

 

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