I’m not sure where exactly the term “staycation” originated from or when it came into the popular vernacular but I tip my cap to whoever created it. For the first 25 or so years of my life I, like many others, was devoted to the idea of vacation meaning a trip somewhere, either foreign and domestic, packed with organizing, traveling, being molested by a TSA agent, scheduling activities of varying degrees of strenuousness, and then returning home much more tired than I began. This led to my coining of the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” HAHAHAHA! (Of course, I did NOT coin that phrase and in fact, the person who DID coin that phrase should probably keep it to him or herself in order to avoid a beating. Worst phrase ever.) But somewhere in my post-college years I discovered the bliss that is the staycation and have made great strides in becoming one of the leaders in the field of staycationing. Here’s how it works: I take off work, I usually don’t set my alarm, I watch movies, I eat poorly, and I generally stay away from anything resembling responsibility. I’m quite good at it actually; one might even call it a natural talent. It’s as is if I was made to do nothing and enjoy it. Sometimes I staycation by myself, usually around Christmas when I have to use my two weeks of vacation or lose them, but sometimes Lindsey joins me in a staycation and it is glorious. More television programming is consumed in these staycations than most people watch in a year and a new standard for laziness is usually set, only to be broken the next time one of these staycations rolls around. It’s a family tradition.
I’m not sure maternity/paternity leave actually qualifies as a staycation but, quite unexpectedly, it hasn’t felt far off. As I’ve mentioned before in this space, as the delivery of your first child approaches, all anyone will tell you is that your life is about to change dramatically. Almost everyone then makes it clear that being a parent is great and the child is (usually) worth all the trouble and you probably won’t want to kill yourself and blah blah blah but the implication is pretty serious: this is going to be rough. When every human is essentially telling you that your life is about to suck miserably for the next couple of months, it’s only natural to let that get into your head and freak you out a little bit. “What if this kid never sleeps?” “What if he has an embarrassing skin rash that makes him unpleasant to look at?” “What if the beagle tries to eat his bones like a KFC commercial?” “What if he throws up in my mouth and then I throw up on him and then I’m the dad who threw up on his newborn baby?” These and a hundred other horrifying thoughts begin to fly through your mind and eventually you become convinced that the first six to eight weeks of your child’s life will be a bloody nightmare.
Well…the first three weeks weren’t. In fact, they were kind of awesome. Lindsey and I have both been (mostly) off work, people have been bringing us free food pretty consistently, and while I haven’t been getting the amount of sleep I would normally expect to get on a staycation, most days haven’t been so bad that I couldn’t function. We’ve caught up on all of our TV shows, spent time hanging out with friends and family, and sometimes we’ve even showered. Basically it’s been just like an extended staycation except that every two hours or so someone poops. So that’s not so shabby. It certainly helps that Cooper is probably the most adorable kid in the known universe and that he sleeps like a champ but regardless, it’s been three weeks of chilling together as a family and what a blessing that’s been to all of us (except the dog, who may never recover from this intrusion into her life).
Alas, this staycation is coming to an end and my continued shouts of, “We want more! We want more!” in the direction of the heavens have gone unheeded. I started working from home last week and had to do serious, real office work over the weekend and Lindsey will be seeing patients for the first time today. (Note to future potential parents: get your short term disability lined up way in advance so you can stay home for longer than three weeks. Lesson learned the hard way.) Neither of us will be putting in the full number of hours that we will in a normal week for a little while longer but still, the staycation has effectively ended. And that’s a bummer as no matter how much I love my job (and I do), it’s not nearly as enjoyable as watching Arrested Development with my son. So if any of you would like to volunteer to continue bringing us meals and occasionally paying our mortgage, I’ll be happy to bribe you with more photos of our crazy-cute kid eating his own hand or snuggling with the dog. Think it over.
The KFC commercials make me laugh more than they should, Brian