The glowing red numbers on the bedside table showed a blurry 1:45 a.m. when my eyes popped open. I felt my heart pounding. I looked around.
Where were the kids?
I bolted out of bed, tripping while squinting over at the other bed in the room, covers ruffled but absolutely empty.
Think. Think. The kids.
As I emerged from my deep slumber, I remembered: We’d booked two rooms at the hotel, but they weren’t connected. We’d been keeping the doors open and slipping from one space to the other all night.
It was followed by yet another troubling though. I couldn’t remember if we’d locked up after we’d kissed the kids goodnight, or not.
Traveling with a family of five, we don’t always fit in into the conventional hotel space. I should clarify; we don’t always fit into the conventional hotel space that we can afford. And it isn’t just cost. It’s also overall value that we consider. After all, if we have to upgrade to a suite to accommodate our family size, we’ll have less money to spend on other activities in the area. In other words, we’d want to stay at a place with more kids’ activities, or at least a place that includes breakfast.
To avoid this situation we usually look for vacation rentals wherever we go. There’s plenty of room for everyone, even in a two-bedroom condo or three-bedroom cottage, plus you’ll have a kitchen. It’s not hard to find one if you’re going to a popular destination like Hawaii or Orlando.
We’ve noted that the professionally-managed homes unfailingly bring amenities and attention to detail, and our family likes that.
But this time we were attending meetings, so the luxury of a home was out and proximity to our contacts ranked supreme. Although many hotels offer rooms that connect, in this case they didn’t have any available. The best the hotel could do was two rooms near each other.
So what could we do? We took them.
Organizing the chaos
If you’ve ever had to share one bathroom with five people, you’ll know that this wasn’t exactly a hardship. It would have been nice to have the extra room and privacy. The only problem was who would sleep where.
We debated various arrangements. One parent per room or kids room parent room? Which room would be the office, which room would be the play area?
Things changed throughout the night, since we couldn’t decide. The kids wanted their own space, but aren’t they’re too young at 11, 8 and 6? And they have a bad habit of watching TV after bedtime, snacking while they walk around and opening the door without checking who’s there.
As much as the adults would have liked a private room and the alone time together, it was clear that to even be considered marginally responsible, at least one adult must be with the children.
And so in the middle of the night I woke to the shock of a completely quiet room. In my befuddled mind I remembered that Chris had bunked down with the boys in the other room. I could faintly hear the noise of water falling into the sink as my daughter washed her hands. Now that I’d woken a bit more I realized my daughter had probably left her bed to use the bathroom.
Everything was fine.
Only one problem remained: How would I ever get back to sleep that night?