Well, mommas...I think we should all appreciate us just being here. I might be locked in my bedroom trying to write this blog. And well, we can just pretend that you're not locked in the bathroom reading it...daydreaming of a vacation. I'd love to talk about how wonderful vacations are, but do we (mommas) actually get a vacation? I'd be lying if I said my husband has packed his own luggage since we've met. That's right, since we've met. I do think that my 4-year old would do a better job packing than him, though. At least he would remember the Pop Tarts.
One of the best perks of this job, of course after I've packed all of their stuff, is coming to ACE to play. There is nothing that lights his little face up more than pulling into the Welcome Center and seeing those huge inflatables at the water park. (My son likes them, too) We get to the beach and they disappear. I put in my earphones and I also disappear. Until they're hungry…why do they always just stare at me when they're hungry? Without even getting up, I point them in the direction of the Lakeside Patio. Did that just happen? Is this what relaxing feels like? Am I on vacation?
As a guide here, I've watched it for years. Mommas plan the vacation from minute one. Although, I don't think we'll ever escape from the packing and planning, you can actually escape here in these mountains. There's no cooking, cleaning, worrying about the next meal. I can see relief in mom's eyes, especially when the raft guide's start to prepare lunch on the river bank. When you get off the lake and everyone's giving you the "feed me" stare. It's so easy to just walk into the restaurant without ever leaving ACE.
There's also something that happens here that is hard to explain. Our love for the outdoors is contagious and I think everyone develops it while they're out here. Watching my little man paddle around the New River in his ducky is a great feeling. I love the ability to share something that I love with him. Even if the whole family is developing this love at the same time, you definitely still feel pride in their ability to do something new.
There's a sense of accomplishment when you do something that might make you a little nervous, too. When a family gets on that blue bus after their trip, they're truly proud of what they just did together. To watch a family really grow together in just a few hours or days is priceless. I can tell that these trips truly change people. It's a whole lot more than just a vacation here at ACE. It's what keeps families coming back for years; each trip they grow a little more.