Along Highway 290, between Austin and Junction, stands the quaint, little German town of Fredericksburg. I would drive past it whenever I traveled from El Paso to Austin, even as a teenager for All State competitions. I’ve seen it grow from a little gem in the middle of Hill Country to the chic, wine-tasting hub that it is today. My husband and I had always wanted to stay and explore the town, so for our first, official family vacation, that is, a vacation in which the main point was not to visit immediate relatives, we decided to finally take a leap of faith and spend a couple of nights in a hotel there with the three kids.
First of all, it was evident by the pictures of hotels online, this was not exactly the spot to bring all the little ones. “Ah. This looks great, except there is only one king bed and rose pedals strung throughout the bathroom,” my husband would say. “Well,” I continued. “At least the bathtub is big enough to fit all three kids. Bath time would be a breeze. We can even fit two in one bathrobe.” Indeed, most of the bookings were ideal for my husband and I pre-children, though we did eventually find a very nice hotel by the creek.
The first night was all fun and games, as they had a very nice swimming pool perfect for my beginner swimmers. However, things took a turn for the worst the day after. Despite our best efforts to schedule our vacation away from any important events, nothing can prepare you for that moment when you realize that an unwelcome visitor has followed you on vacation. This guest tagged along in the form of a stomach bug. It was quite fortuitous, because although the kids were glued to the bed and bathroom, my husband and I were completely unaffected, which happens perhaps because of food poisoning. This allowed us to take turns going out for a break to either sit at the creek or pick up dinner. On one of my evening breaks, I sat out with a cup of tea, and pondered. I saw the fireflies beaming through the grass, a mother doe and baby deer out to explore, and a few other guests who said a friendly, “hello.” I sat and contemplated everything. What was the point of vacation with young children? What would we really have done otherwise? Exhausted ourselves hiking and exploring all morning only to return to swim all evening? What is the point of vacation at all, when you have to worry about costs, illnesses, travel safety?
I looked back at the fireflies: so peaceful, floating around the bank, one coming to kiss my ankle. I would have not experienced this peace and calm if we had stayed behind. My son said it best when he said, “I’m glad we got sick in a hotel. At least it’s not getting sick at home.” Yes, you are refreshed when in a different setting, and it keeps things new and exciting.