We wake early, yawning, and fumble around the house gathering final items and lugging suitcases out the door.
Do you have…?
Did we forget to…?
The foggy questions finally come to a close as we lock the door behind us, holding hands on the way to the car, and not letting go once we are nestled inside.
“Sweet surprises,” is what my voice whispers when asked what we want to pray for as we start this time away.
He smiles next to me, giving my hand a squeeze, then returns his gaze to the road, and we are gone.
Vacation, I have heard, is a word used rather liberally. “Going on a trip” is what one uses when hauling kids, meeting up with family, and generally running at a pace of life that feels oddly similar to what we supposedly “left behind.”
Vacation is different. Vacation is slow, a tenderness, a gentleness. Vacation is having the shocking thought, “We don’t have to rush this,” repeat in your head.
We don’t have to rush this. We have time. That’s what vacation is, at least to me: the luxury of time.
As delightful as this sounds, it is, of course, imperfect:
“Well, fine then!” I say to my husband thirteen hours later, throwing my purse on the floor of our Airbnb for dramatic effect.
I proceed to take my freshly applied makeup off in frustration, as if this is somehow proof that I don’t want to go dancing anymore (although, of course, I do). It has taken us forty minutes of comments that aren’t quite reaching each other to get right here, standing in a stranger’s kitchen, glaring at each other.
My husband sighs and sits down.
But it’s vacation, so we resolve and he tells me I look prettier without the makeup anyway, and we laugh about me throwing my purse, and all things end in a hug and us out the door, once again, holding hands.
It’s okay, I think. We have time to argue.
We have time.
We go to the farmer’s market in a strange city and do three laps around the place out of enjoyment. We buy flowers and blueberries and arugula that tastes like peppery goodness, tomatoes that are the deepest red we can find in fruit form.
We sleep, a lot, letting the sunshine stream in and wake us up as our bodies feels we need to, no alarm necessary. We listen, we talk, we sing, we write songs. We paint, we dream, and we hike, all at a pace usually reserved for our grandparents.
Home now, I’m unloading groceries when I feel it creep in- the rushing, the checking the clock every five minutes, the wondering if I will get it all done before the next thing starts. And then, one deep breath.
I have time.
The thought floats in my head as a mantra that has become a worn track in my mind from the past week together, and I loosen my shoulders. I have time.
I don’t have to rush, even here, even chopping potatoes and finding a place in the fridge for yogurt.
Call it an after-vacation glow if you will, but this pace feels more wholesome, more healthy for me than the one I went at before we left. Because whether I’m here in my kitchen or on vacation, I have time- even with “to-do” lists, even with jobs and classes and shuttling. I have time to go slowly, to do fewer things at once, and it’s my choice to make my life more than just a series of checked-off boxes.
I have time.