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Vacationing with Kids

Published in Kveller by Dasee Berkowitz
Posted on August 28, 2011

A friend of mine once aptly said: “A family vacation is really just relocation, but without all of your stuff that makes your life easier.” And after our recent jaunt down to Orlando to introduce our daughter to her grandmother, I realized just how right she was. Seeing the family was a hit, seeing this as our vacation, however, was decidedly a miss.

While traveling on a vacation is about taking a break from work and normal routines (think: Waikiki beach with colorful umbrella drink in hand and blissed-out look on face), when you are traveling with children, you are bringing your work with you.

Don’t get me wrong. I do love so many things about getting away, like eating out and having someone else serve me dinner. But when I had to stop the third glass of water from spilling all over Grandma’s main course while my son exercised his artistic abilities by coloring in his kiddie placemat, eating out, and some of the other “perks” of vacation, lose their charm.

One way to make family vacations work better is to completely change the way you think about them, reframing them as a journey as opposed to a destination. Judaism has a lot to say about journeys. Every time you set out on a journey beyond the city limits, there is an ancient prayer that is said, called tefillat haderekh, or “a prayer for the road.” The prayer was originally composed for wayfarers to ward against obstacles they might encounter that would sabotage their trip (wild beasts, robbers, enemies in unchartered territories, you get the idea). Today, there are all sorts of other ways our modern day journeys are sabotaged.

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