One of the many reasons I love vacations is that by removing myself from my home environment and day-in-day-out activities, I am reminded of how lucky I am. I have a tendency to get sucked into and stressed out by the daily grind. The experiences and new knowledge gained from a trip always seem to remind me of my blessings in life.
I recently packed my kids and everything but the kitchen sink into our car and drove halfway across the United States from Colorado to Northern Michigan. The kids, minus the expected fights, were good. The car didn’t break down. We visited friends and family along the way to our beachy destination. I had some really great family time and alone time with the kids.
I felt like I had checked everything off my how-to-have-a-great-vacation list, but I hadn’t had any great aha moments yet. It was nice to be out-of-town and having fun, but nothing had happened to drive home that feeling of gratefulness for my life that I look forward to experiencing on vacation.
Enter the bat (quite possibly plural since they nest in colonies). Another one of the joys of vacation is the unpredictability of events. If I had made a list of all the random things that could happen on our trip, I would never have come up with this one. And if you’ve never had it happen before, let’s just say it’s an eye opener.
The first night I woke up to a flap-flapping sound inches from my head. I panicked. I screamed at my husband and jumped out of bed arms flailing. He was able to get the bat out after what seemed like an hour of us yelling at each other in hushed voices (so we didn’t wake the kids), trying to shepherd it with a tennis racket out the nearest door.
The next night, I knew what the sound was, so I was less panicked. But I still screeched a little every time it swooped near me while we tried to chase it out the door, tennis rackets swinging wildly through the air. The next morning at breakfast, my brother-in-law (who slept through the whole thing), asked if we had heard the cat fight in the woods the night before so I guess I wasn’t as calm as I thought.
After a few days of the bat, and us covering up the fireplace, it stopped visiting us at night. It wasn’t really the aha moment that I expected, but it made me feel grateful that I’m not waking up in the middle of the night anymore with babies. And it made me deeply appreciate of a good nights’ sleep. The next time my six-year-old has a restless night, and I’m up with her, I am going to think about the bat and be more compassionate. As much as I hate having her wake me up, it sucks for her to be awake too, and it beats the heck out of a bat.