“You’re crazy!” They said.
“Those poor children,” I heard them mumble under their breath.
“You know it’s a 24 hour drive, right?” I did! Despite their concerns, we drove to Florida with our 6 year old, 5 year old and our almost potty trained 2 year old.
After being pregnant and/or nursing for what felt like a full 5 years, we decided that we should finally try a family vacation. The obvious choice for a two week getaway was Lake Placid, Florida since my family owns a cute little mobile home in a retirement RV park. It was going to be affordable (free) and pretty low-key, which was a bonus since three young children was going to keep it exciting enough for my husband and I.
We left home at 2am in the morning thinking we could get a lot of driving out of the way while they slept. They didn’t sleep. The air was full of excitement as we began our drive, with the “are we there yet?” questions starting an hour in.
Surprisingly, we made it in 2 days, arriving at our Floridian destination at 5:30pm on Christmas Eve. I often went to Florida as a child and my memory of citrus scented air was accurate. We immediately changed into our bathing suits and took our golf cart down to the pool. Unfortunately, my daughter (aka: the 2 year old) was battling an RSV infection. With a history of pneumonia, I knew I had pushed her wheezy cough long enough and decided our first touristy stop would be the local ER where pneumonia was confirmed. To the relief of myself and our travel insurance company, she was not admitted, just given a few drugs to start and strict instructions. A few days after that she felt better and our vacation really began!
We decided to skip the Disney thing this year because 90 minute line ups ain’t my idea of a vacation. Instead we hit up Gatorama and went on an air boat ride to see even more gators. We also ate some gator gumbo and let the boys drink some Gatorade. When we weren’t sticking to our gator vacation theme, we swam multiple times a day and tried to hit up as many exclusively US restaurants as my arteries allowed. We snuck in naps when we could and enjoyed the feeling of flip-flops on our feet in December. It was relatively quiet and unadventurous, and somehow perfect.
The drive home included sibling and marital arguments, snowstorms and urine soaked car seats. You would think that my older children would now understand the length of this drive, but the “are we home yet?” started about 30 minutes in. We came home tan, rested, and full of appreciation. My boys are looking forward to Florida next year… as long as we fly.