Everyone loves a good vacation – the escape from reality and the continual pull that comes with various responsibilities. We all need this time as well. Whether it is a vacation with your spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friends, or the entire family, the memories made are one in a million to be cherished by the special people or group you were with.

However important, family vacations bring about another dimension.

This year, my family couldn’t do a whole-extended-family-tropical-vacation for a few different reasons. The four of us (momma, daddy, JT, and I) were able to squeeze in a quick trip to Palm Desert & Palm Springs between my summer classes ending and JT starting his sophomore year as our vacation. I was so excited leading up to this trip. I texted friends who live in the area for their recommendations on eating, I found the best shopping and a cute spa. Pulling it together into a **somewhat** open week. (This is hard for me – if you read my recent Texas trip, you can see easily that I will plan every moment of the trip given the opportunity so nothing is missed). Together as a family, we settled on brunch restaurants for each morning, and dinner spots to celebrate the evening with lunch being snacks while laying out by the pool each day.

As a family growing up, we would go to Palm Springs for most every spring break. Once everyone’s schedules with school and sports started changing, we couldn’t keep going. It felt like AGES since I’d been out to the desert, making this quick getaway seem much more exciting!!

*Sidebar – Palm Springs & Palm Desert are beautiful. Totally forgot. & the drive there is so easy. Why don’t I go more? It is a complete little oasis. I just love California.

Coming into our trip, I was picturing a completely perfect vacation for us all. I wanted us to be able to go to the desert, escape the tensions and stresses that come with learning to grow a foundation so close to your heart, and reconnect as a family. I wanted laughs, hugs, dancing, relaxing, time, moments, and memories. I was hoping that somehow I could get us all off our phones & dependence on social media/technology to instead connect & be present. I wanted every problem & worry to somehow disappear. And being 100% honest, I wanted to have a picture perfect vacation so I could show to myself and others on social media we have it all together. Social media does that to you, or at least to me. We want to impress tons of people whose opinions shouldn’t matter as much as they do, in the process losing connection with those around you.

So with all of this unknown expectation placed on our vacation, do you want to know what it seemed I was getting?

  • stress
  • tension
  • moodiness
  • tears
  • frustration
  • cell phones
  • work
  • quietness & distance

And you know what else I got?

  • laughs
  • hugs
  • dancing
  • relaxing
  • moments turning into memories
  • time

Sitting here, I see most everything I wanted & hoped for happened. Maybe not in the capacity and length I intended, but I did get moments, tastes of everything I was silently wanting. But I also got more. And the “more” includes the very things I didn’t want to appear.

We are human and we are family. I’m far from perfect, and we as a family are far from perfect. We work on it though, we cry through it, we fight for it, and most importantly, we love.

What is a family vacation without all the word “family” comes with? I get moody, frustrated, and short. So do all the rest of my gang. Someone will upset someone else. Quietness will enter, and you have to work through it. I’m proud of the four of us for working on our imperfections and not giving up on each other when challenges arise. And in continuing to be honest, I bet some of my frustrations were because I was upset at moments in our vacation not aligning with what I imagined them to be. It was unfair of me to expect them to act and be a certain way so I could have a share-worthy vacation without letting them know.

When you work through the challenges, or start seeing how to move forward, you in turn make room for the laughs, the joy, and the memories.

These three, momma, daddy, and JT, make me laugh so hard my belly hurts and they did it multiple times while on our trip. We played, we danced, we sang. We experienced new foods, saw new places, and now I see how wanting this picture perfect vacation wasn’t realistic. I do not think I really, deep down, would have wanted it as I imagined though. I think a lot of the wanting came from expectations society seems to put on us.

God blessed us with an insanely beautiful life. And He fills it with both beauty & pain. It is the messiest parts of life I do not always want to address, but they add so many stories to our time here. It is all in the mourning & the dancing that we live. I’m learning to see more of God’s “&’s”. I love it. I want to experience my life to the fullest, and it would not happen without all the messy pieces, and also the gifts which come along. The stories I have the opportunity to hear and to share always include one of God’s “&’s”, the balance created when He is really at work.

I’ll leave you with this:

Let go, jump, laugh, and cry. Play through each day. Your picture perfect does not need to be the world’s picture perfect. It’s ok to be different, & please be uniquely YOU!

X & O,

Shaya

PS…..

I can’t do a somewhat travel post without sharing photos and my favorite places for you to try if you have the amazing opportunity to drive out or fly to Palm Desert so here they are!

  1. Reservoir. Eat there and fall in love with their floor, because I did.
  2. Wilma & Frieda’s. Talk about YUM. JT had these bomb churro waffles. It was like a legit churro in waffle shape.
  3. Keedy’s Fountain Grill. Chocolate Malt @ 10 am. Do not miss out on this opportunity.
  4. La Quinta Cliffhouse. Beautiful location!! The bread was ridiculously yummy & hot out of the oven.
  5. Workshop Kitchen + Bar. Dude, the design of this place was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Sooo simple too. All concrete with lights. Their food was delicious too. 10/10 recommend & add their house made bread with truffle butter.