“Yes! We should take a vacation Daddy! It will be fun to go away together!”

Sarah and I decided we were ready for our first trip as a family of 4. Until now, we hadn’t traveled much and limited our vacations with the boys to a shore house rental with extended family in the summer. It was time for something new and different. The question was, what and where?

We settled on a quick getaway to Hershey – a land of chocolate, rides, hotels plus a place close enough that we could drive without stopping. Not to mention, we could pack everything up to head home if it turned into a total disaster.

After we told Brandon we would all stay in one room together in a hotel and he would have his own bed, we could only laugh at his excitement as he said, “I’ll go pack” and ran to get his bag for his clothes and stuffed animal friends (the trip was weeks away at this point). When it was time to actually pack, much to Sarah’s chagrin, Brandon set aside a trunkload of toys from his playroom in the span of 20 minutes. All I could do was smile at his enthusiasm while Sarah negotiated a 3-toy settlement for each boy.



We played a form of Tetris to successfully fit the kids and bags in the car, and began our way to Hershey. Even though it was a 2-hour ride, no one in the back seat fell asleep. The whole way there. I guess you could say everyone was excited. When we got there, the boys let out some energy running around the lobby. I chased after them while Sarah checked in.

We’ve eaten out just a few times in the last 18 months, so meals were their own adventure. Adam is learning to use utensils so food was flinging all over, and both boys were less than excited to try foods that didn’t look or taste like things at home. When Sarah went to change Adam in the restroom, he froze on the changing table – up until now, he had never been changed in a public setting. Minutes later we headed to an elevator and his little face got a pouty lip in fear as we went up just one floor – he had never been in an elevator before. I go on elevators all the time without a second thought, but Adam’s fear reminded me how much truly is new to him.

The new experiences for our littlest man continued when we went over to Chocolate World to make our own chocolate bars. I hadn’t thought about the crowds but while Brandon (happily) paid close attention, admiring his work while he made his own candy bar, Adam was more focused on walking around and waving at people. When it was done, Brandon looked at us and said, “Whoa, is this all for me? So cool!”

At night after our full day without naps, Brandon curled up in his bed and fell asleep exhausted. Adam was his own challenge. Realizing he could see us from his crib across the room, he called out for us and threw his pacifiers until he wore himself out. Eventually we all got sleep, though some more than others.

The next day, Brandon made sure we were up early for the first shuttle to take us to Hershey Park. I was relieved he was brave enough (and only tall enough) for the kids rides instead of something Sarah or myself needed to go on with him. I watched as Adam took in everything around him, but I’m pretty sure he was just as entertained riding on my lap in the shuttle bus. I savored those quiet moments together with him.

Not surprising, the boys slept on the way home. While I was driving, Sarah asked, “Was this a successful trip?” I understand why she asked. We were exhausted with many challenging moments making memories, which we expected. Without hesitation I said, “Absolutely, but let’s get some sleep before we do it again.”

October 2021
Related Articles

Comments are closed.


Get SJ Mag in Your Inbox

Subscribe for the latest on South Jersey dining, weekend entertainment, the Shore and much more - sent directly to your inbox.

* indicates required
Email Format
WATCH NOW: Millennials looking for Mentors