I love my family. I promise, I do…but family vacations are a whole different affair. They’re the sort of vacations that you simultaneously dread and look forward to for six months. You’re excited but you also know that you will inevitably get into a fight at least once and almost murder someone three times. Really, it’s a rollercoaster of emotions and causes you to go through the seven stages of grief. RIP to all sanity. 

beer, tea, coffee
Rachel Dugard

Stage 1: Shock or Disbelief

As in that moment when your dad announced that you’re all going on vacation (as if it were a big surprise) and you’re not really sure how you feel about it. Will it be good? Will it be bad? Are you going to get yelled at this trip or will it be your brother (he totally deserves it more than you)?

You’re really just confused and waiting it out. These plans fall through half the time anyway. Treat yourself with these Breakfast Avocado Boats.

Stage 2: Denial 

You know that exact moment when you try every possible way to get out of the plans. You talk to your boss asking to get the day off while also trying to convince them to not give you the day off. You double and triple check if you have homework or projects that might mean you can get out of this vacation, but really you know that you will go on your family vacation.

Up until the last minute, you’re like a little kid who’s only doing something because his parents told them to. You pack your bag with a sour face and talk to your siblings about how you don’t even want to go. Your dad threatens to cancel the trip if nobody gets in the car in ten minutes and you take a few extra seconds to see if he means it. But on you go... preferably with these airplane snacks.

Stage 3: Anger

When I’m on vacation with my family, I live in this stage. This is the stage where you’re a ticking time bomb with the patience of a hairpin trigger. You could be sitting on the beach in the Bahamas on a perfect day but if a cloud even looks mildly threatening, you’re ready to kill.

Don't even get me started on those few hangry hours where you're waiting for dinner. Eat these Peanut Butter Protein Bites while you're waiting for your family to decide on a place to eat dinner.

Stage 4: Bargaining

It’s day four of your family vacation. You’re sharing a bed with your sister and your family is all shoved into a tiny space. Clothes are everywhere, you’re running on almost no sleep, and you can’t even count how many times someone has asked you what you’re doing with your life.

You would literally sell your soul to anyone for some freedom (like even ten minutes of you sitting alone while drinking a cup of tea, but even that isn’t possible).

Step 5: Guilt

You finally start to realize that you might be overreacting. Mom and dad haven’t even looked in your direction in three hours lest they get a snarky comment from you. That fight you had with your sister about who has to sleep on the couch and who gets the mattress seems pointless now. You could be enjoying your vacation and be having a great time, but instead, you’ve been Oscar the Grouch the whole time and now you feel like trash. It’s time to fix things... maybe with this Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet.

Stage 6: Depression

Things are actually getting kind of fun. You and mom laughed at another family because some kid is eating sand and at least you weren’t that bad when you were young. You then get sad because you feel like you've been cranky the whole time and haven't enjoyed it enough. Maybe you try to make up for it by baking with the fam, try some Ultimate Slutty Brownies.

Stage 7: Acceptance and Hope

So the family vacation wasn’t that bad. There are reasons you love your family, like that time James did that thing you love, you know what it is. You’re actually kind of sad it’s over and look forward to the next one. Once the vacation's over sit back with your favorite tv show and this White Wine Sangria to celebrate the fact that nobody died on the family vacation this trip (at least your vacations are better than the National Lampoon's Vacation).

coffee, grass, beer
Rachel Dugard