Hanging with family can be a great vacation

When most couples think about going on vacation, they think about getting away from everyone but themselves. They think about heading off to a tropical island, or touring a European city, or even just driving two hours to the local beach and relaxing. Most people don’t think of visiting their parents or parents-in-law.

My fiance and I are one of those rare couples who use what little vacation time we are granted from our employers to visit his parents, who live in Live Oak, Florida. If you’ve never heard of Live Oak, then you are normal. If you have heard of it, then you know it’s a sleepy little farming town that isn’t really meant for tourists. Live Oak mostly consists of fields of cows and large farms, with a tiny little strip of fast food places and feed stores in between.

Awesome’s parents have what I would call “half of a farm.” You can find horses, donkeys, chickens, geese, dogs and cats. Cows and a pig would upgrade them in my mind to being a whole farm, but having just half of a farm is hard work for Awesome’s dad and stepmom, so I doubt that they will be gaining those animals any time soon. Being an animal lover, I like visiting them because it means I get to ride horses, feed donkeys and geese, and walk around with chickens. There’s a big in-ground pool with a hot tub, and Awesome’s dad even has a makeshift shooting range.

There must be something in the air out here because we love coming down here. Maybe the air is cleaner or something, who knows. All I know is that it’s relaxing and much slower-paced than our regular life. Awesome is pretty much exactly like his father, so they are constantly cracking jokes together, and his stepmother and I have a lot in common so we are always talking. It’s almost like vacationing with a couple of friends rather than parents.

The last time we spoke to them before we left for Florida, they told us a little bit about what they wanted to do with us when we came down here, including a two-day trip to Orlando to see SeaWorld and Aquatica. After they read us a semi-formal itinerary, I told them that it didn’t matter if all we did was sit there and hang out by the pool with the animals. For us, visiting a place that is so different from our own is our vacation. Making dinner while talking and joking with them is our vacation. Just hanging out with family we don’t get to see very often is our vacation.

I’m not saying it’s always rainbows and roses out here. There have been times when I’ve have just had to get away from everyone to have some space to breathe without someone talking to me. Even now as I am writing this blog, my future stepmother-in-law has interrupted me three – now four – times to ask me a question. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world…even if they have already brought up the subject of grandchildren more than once.