The Saha Family Vacation Part II

Updated: Oct 4, 2018


We are back home from our annual Virginia Beach vacation. I love when people ask me if I am rested. I usually give off a little giggle and respond « it was a family vacation » that means the same amount of work simply in a different location. I can’t hide it or lie, the success of our family vacation is contingent on one thing and one thing only, my son. When Keyan is good we’re good and If he’s not then we’re not. We use a significant amount of our time and energy hustling to change his mood. It’s a hell of a lot of work. I often wonder why I am so tired but the answer is sooooo obvious. 


When Keyan is with me I am catering to him. No – no - not hand and foot but very close. His limited capabilities make it so we have to feed him every time he is hungry. Besides taking a clean apple out of the fridge he cannot cut, pour or mix his food. In essence his papa and I are short order cooks when he is with us. I did mention in a previous post that he is 5’10’’ tall and 150lbs. He is 14 going on 15 years old and that translates to a bottomless pit. When Keyan is home we spend our days in and out of the kitchen on regular intervals throughout the day.  Going on vacation does not stop Keyan’s hunger pangs. In fact, when Keyan is anxious or in transition he finds comfort in food. 


Now let’s talk vacation. We rent a functional four bedroom - three bathroom house for seven people on Chesapeake bay. The other six members of the family spend the days with us in the house but sleep in a campground 5 minutes down the road. Therefore, throughout the day from 8am to 10pm we are 13-15 people (depending if my in-laws come or not) all together. We have been doing this for 12 years now. It sounds crazy but it works! The sad part for me is that the mister and I cannot sit on the beach at the same time because Keyan needs constant supervision in the house. When Keyan wants to eat we need to assist. He loves water and takes as many showers as he does snack breaks within the day. The kicker here is he needs us to dry him or else he simply puts on his clothes when his skin is still wet. Of course, sometimes I simply don’t have the energy and I let follow through. There are only so many outfits I can allow my boy wear in a day otherwise I am a slave to doing laundry (which like all families I already am). 


Out of all of the years we have gone to Virginia this is the year that Keyan decides to spend the least amount of time in the ocean. It’s unfortunate because he used to spend 1-2 hours in the water at a time. This year he decided that 30 minutes was enough. It’s as though as soon as he got in the water he was already running out. His exiting the water means one of us has to jump up to escort him into the house. Why? To dry him of course. 


Then his new thing this year was walking out of the house on his own. Why?  To show us that he wanted to go for a car ride (another one of his favorite things). A few times someone would yell to me “Audrey, did you know Keyan is outside”. Damn that meant once out of the house we couldn’t get him back in…..OR else we risked another tantrum of EPIC proportions. 


Think of the day like this (keep in mind either Kunal or I are accomplice to this)

Food

Shower

Food

Ocean

Shower

Drive

Food

Shower 

Food 

Ocean 

Drive 

Food 

Food 

Ocean 

Shower 


Are you exhausted reading this? Well imagine being part of the tag team who has to participate in this activity all day long – every day. We don’t have a choice so we do it. A few times we will ask Manisha to help out if she is sitting inside checking her social media feeds. This gives us just enough time to breath and then we are “ON” again. 


So why do it? Why go on this family vacation if it’s so hard? The answer is because this vacation is everything. It is a long standing tradition that has meant so much to the Saha family. In a word it is a tradition. It is a legacy of memories gifted to our children. Every year we have had the privilege of watching the children grow. We spend time having intimate conversations about life – the deep profound kind of conversations where we share of ourselves: our hopes, fears and goals for the future. 


I love having one on one time with each of my nieces and nephew – we usually go on the kayak & paddle board, sit on the beach or go out for ice cream. This year we bonded over the collective courage required to go into the “haunted house” on the board walk…it made scream, laugh and almost cry. I love the talks over morning coffee or as the sunset’s with a glass of wine in hand. We sit on the beach to scan the ocean for dolphins and when one of us spots them hands start waving in the air and the words come out “the dolphins are there – look –look – the dolphins are there”. Two lucky people get to paddle out to swim with the Dolphins. This year I shared the experience with my older sister-in-law, Sujata. We spent 1.5 hours surrounded by dolphins and shared the magic with little words but heart filled emotions. Then there is the magical sunset – where all 13 of us sit as a family on the beach watching the people walk by, dogs playing fetch, late daytime swimmers, crabbers with their nets and the beauty of the setting sun. This is when my younger sister-in-law, Mitali the original resident photographer, reminds us that this is the best light. I can attest that by now we have over a 1000 pictures of the setting sun and it never gets old. 


Why do I do it? Because it is the one time of the year Manisha feels heard. She interacts with her cousins in ways she can’t with her brother. They play games, tells stories and laugh out loud the whole time. Our children are really good kids because they don’t fight so we don’t have to contend with that noise. Our little Mila (the youngest) tries to tease her sister but it never lasts long because she is distracted by everyone else in the family. We have concluded that she might be a little scared of “auntie Audrey” but I am okay with it if it keeps her in check. You see Mila is so cute that it’s easy to let her get away with things but that is not the way to raise a child. I want her to know that I love her immensely but she has to also be part of the setting up, cleaning up and calming down at night (she is like the energizer bunny). I love that my sister in laws allow me to have a natural relationship with the kids rather than patrol what I do and say to them. 


I feel truly blessed to have these little souls in my life. The oldest of the kids, Alex is a genuinely good human being. She is intelligent, funny and loves life. Let me tell you this girl can cook! Maya is really pretty ;) She loves to laugh and has the ability to laugh at herself too which I think is a true gift. She is naïve and we use that to our advantage because she legit makes us LOL. The beauty of Maya is her generous soul always wanting to help. Zacharie, is the quiet type but opens up when given the chance. We ran twice together and during those runs talked about life in a real way. I felt privileged that he would share with me. Mahika our curly haired babe is going into grade 6 – she is the quintessential “tween”.  She has matured so much in the last year, so much so, that she initiates conversations on her own accord with the adults now. Her favorite story from this vacation involves her mama bear, Mitali who went to unlock the door of her bedroom and someone was on the other side. It scared the crap out of her because she thought we were all on the beach. Yup – she thought is was a stranger in her room when it was only Keyan. 


Hence the reasons WHY 


Thank you for reading

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