When I go on vacation, I like to bring the best version of myself along.
I pack my favorite shirts, my most flattering pair of jeans, and only the comfortable, pretty underwear that still has all it's elastic.
I pack only my two favorite colors of eyeshadow.
I pack only shoes that don't give me blisters.
In my purse, I make sure there is no trash, empty lipstick tubes, or rotten food.
I bring only reading material that is uplifting, and preferably also only in paperback so it is lightweight and inexpensive to replace.
I stock up on healthy, protein-rich and vitamin-rich snacks, and then in a separate container my favorite sweets and a few Diet Cokes for emergencies.
The kids get to bring only practical toys without tiny parts, and educational or creative materials in washable colors.
I pack the children only clothes that match.
I vacuum the inside of my car.
And as I drive away, I leave a clean house with no vase-fulls of dead flowers and no old food in the fridge.
As I was neatly folding sundresses into my suitcase yesterday, in preparation for an upcoming trip to Utah, it occurred to me that maybe I should live my whole life a little more like my vacation. For example I could:
get rid of my unflattering jeans and underwear without elastic, dump my old eyeshadow and empty tubes of lipstick, donate the shoes that don't fit me well, never leave rotten food in my purse, stop reading depressing novels, stock my kitchen with healthy food and hide the sweets for emergencies, donate the kids annoying and scarely used impractical toys, throw out the flowers in the vases and celery in the crisper before they turn to sludge, and vacuum my car once a week. I have no idea what to do about my kids clothes not matching.
Whenever I look at my neatly packed trunk of my car, I reflect on the fact that my family takes on vacation more stuff than most people in the world ever own. So a part of me wishes one of you would break into my house while I'm gone and take all this extra stuff out of my closet and clean out all my other purses. But don't. My neighbors are watching the house for me and some of them are in law-enforcement.
It's funny, though, because a part of me believes that I will be nicer, more at peace, and more fun if I'm wearing my cutest, softest clothes and have everything organized. Which is rubbish. This is just part of the fantasy of vacation. In reality, I would never be able to achieve those things everyday in real life (in fact, it will be a stretch to keep that going by Day Two of our road trip); it takes me five days to prepare for seven days with that kind of organization. And secondly, I know for a fact that I have been ill-tempered with my husband even while wearing my cutest outfit (perhaps because he didn't notice), and my children can still be challenging even when they are eating healthy food.
There is no way to orchestrate life so that everything is problem-free and pretty. But it's nice to try. Which is why I need a vacation! And also a reality check. Praying for both for my family of four this summer.