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What's a real vacation these days?

     Sometimes, a real vacation takes place when you least expect it. 

     Over the weekend, I tagged along with my husband on a company retreat. The kids stayed behind with grandma and grandpa. Alone and poolside at a beachside resort, I people watched.

       In his swimsuit, one dad just couldn't let go of his BlackBerry. He typed away even when his toddler son, nearly soaked the device with pool water. Clearly he'll spend his first day back recovering from the stress of the vacation.

      Oh, and then there was the mom who tried to read a novel, soak in the sun, talk to her hubby, and referee her kids' ping pong game. Just watching her exhausted me.

      The whole poolside scene made me wonder whether family vacation for some is a burden or a relief.  

       Here I was, alone with magazine and no one but the model plastered on the pages of a fashion magazine competing for my attention.  I suddenly felt....relaxed. Sure, I missed my kids. Sure I felt like I should be checking my e-mail. But even if I was just a little more than an hour away from my normal life, dropping all the plates I juggle made rejuvenation a reality. 

       What's a vacation these days?  Is it going to a new location with family in tow? Or is it giving yourself permission -- even for a day or two -- to stop multi-tasking and be in the moment? I've redefined my definition.

      This summer, with so much pressure on all of us to produce, will you take a vacation? A real vacation?