Memorial Day

Sometimes, simple plans are best.

It’s a lesson we have learned over the years as we have seen ambitious vacation plans crumble into disaster.

There was the week at the lake house where Ryan barely slept and was bored and when it rained. The trip to Hershey Park where none of us except Riley slept (noticing a pattern?) leading to anger and frustration. The time I had the bright idea to have Veronica brings the kids to join me working at the NHL All-Star Game, leaving her to deal with both of them as Ryan decompensated while waiting in long lines at the fan festival.

And yet, we must continue to try. We think we hit on a successful formula with last year’s beach vacation and will attempt to repeat it later this summer. But sometimes a quick getaway is what we need to recharge our batteries.

Memorial Day weekend is rarely a relaxing time in our house. The Stanley Cup Final nearly always begins around that time, which usually means work duties for me. But last year offered a rare break, as I was working on another project and thus able to get away for Memorial Day. This was all very last-minute, so there was no time to plan anything elaborate. Not that we are the type to head someplace crowded during a popular holiday weekend.

My parents were going out of town and graciously offered us to stay at their house and make use of the backyard pool. We thought this might be just the break we needed. Ryan is comfortable at his grandparents’ house, so the sleep concerns were lessened.

Still, there were warning signs. On the drive down, he informed us that he did not want to swim but would be spending his time inside on the computer. Veronica and I exchanged a look — this was going to be a challenge, another situation where we would need to find the proper balance between allowing Ryan his space and forcing him outside of his comfort zone so that he could engage with the rest of the family.

We needn’t have worried. As soon as we arrived we coaxed Ryan into the pool, where he stayed for basically the rest of the day, barely expressing a desire to go inside. He engaged in various games with us and with Riley, allowing Veronica and I to relax by the pool with a drink or two.

The weather was perfect all weekend and so we barely moved from our spot. We ate meals outside and spent ours time alternating between the water and the lounge chairs. Ryan did not present a challenging behavior the entire visit.

We headed back home with our batteries charged and our spirits renewed. All the concerns about how we would get Ryan to join us outside had faded and been replaced by memories of family time spent together.

When we were putting together a photo collage of our beach vacation after last summer, we needed a few more pictures to fill out the frame. We couldn’t seem to find the right ones from our collection of beach photos. We ended up filing the frame with shots taken during that perfect Memorial Day spent barely an hour from our house.

Memorial Day looks quite different this year. We have a Devils game Friday night and potentially a Game 7 to watch on Sunday night. Win or lose, the Stanley Cup Final begins in the New York area next week and so this will be a busy weekend work-wise for me. We won’t be able to repeat last year’s relaxing long weekend but we will still be able to spend the break together, engaged in something we all love.

As much as I am looking forward to those games, and hoping the Devils can win so we can keep this magical hockey season going, I have to admit a weekend spent with just the four of us sitting by the pool sounds pretty good.

Here’s hoping all of your Memorial Day plans work out as well as ours did last year. No matter what you do, please take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday. I know I will make a point to show the kids a remembrance service on television, and remind them how lucky we are to be together, and how thankful we need to be for the service and sacrifice of so many.

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