VACATION? Not so much.
I was sitting in Newark Airport with my family getting ready to board a flight to our vacation in Los Cabos, Mexico. Sitting next to me was a family with 2 kids, ages 2 and 4. They had strollers, car seats, crayons, coloring books, teddy bears, sand trucks, blankets, juice cups, goldfish crackers, etc. I had 2 kids in tow, ages 18 and 21 with 2 iPods. I smiled to myself thinking my vacation would be a real vacation. I could relax and I wouldn’t have to haul anything.
What I soon came to realize was that it’s never a relaxing vacation unless you leave your kids home.
Having breakfast the next morning at our hotel, I heard a mom of toddlers say, “let’s go to the pool! “Yay!!”, the kids replied. “Let’s go to the beach!” I heard another young mom say. “Yay!!” her kids replied. At this age you speak, they listen. You go, they follow. Not once did I hear, “mom your wearing THAT on the beach?” There are smiles all around.
I tried for the “smiles all around” effect but the pool is boring for my son yet sounds great to my daughter. Swimming at the beach is too cold for my daughter but my son is all for it. ATVing is great for my son but my daughter would prefer to go horseback riding.
I wondered if we just dug a giant hole in the sand and gave them shovels and trucks if that would make them happy like it used to. But then I remembered…I didn’t bring any shovels or trucks.
Going on a family vacation with adult children is quite different from a vacation with young children. With young children you are all going down the same road. Yes, you probably need a U-Haul trailer just to get to the beach, but it’s the same road and most importantly there is no negotiation.
With our vacation everyone wanted a different road. Some wanted to take the extreme ATV road while others wanted to take the snorkeling road. Some chose the off-road racing on the Baja road while others chose the sunset cruise road. There was the deep-sea fishing road instead of the spa road. How about LETS TAKE A NAP ROAD? Do I hear a “Yay?”
Why was I so smug as I watched that young couple wrestle with their strollers and car seats. Surely it’s easier when a coloring book and a juice box make them happy. Throw in a few goldfish and they’re ecstatic.
Night time activities with adult children are quite a different story. They want to go out…INTO THE NIGHT….ALONE….IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY…AND DRINK MARGARITAS….
When the clock strikes midnight and my kids still haven’t returned, I find myself thinking of that young family probably all snuggly in their hotel room. The parents are probably relaxed and sipping wine on their balcony.
I hate them.
Meals thankfully were not an issue. Nevertheless, with 4 decision makers there was always a debate over when to eat and what to eat. At one point (possibly dreaming of pre-school days), I suggested we pick from a hat.
When they were little the meal time discussion went something like this…”let’s have noodles with butter for dinner!” “Yay” they would reply.
And then the incredible happened. With so much left over food in the refrigerator and all of us tired from traveling down our many different roads, we decided, AS A FAMILY, to stay in and eat the leftovers. We pulled all the food out, set the table up on the patio, put the iPod in the docking station and actually agreed on the music (Bob Marley). We laughed looking at all the pictures we had taken; we talked about hoping to do this again next year.
“Let’s have margaritas!” my husband said. “Yay!” they replied!
You can follow Tracy on facebook at Tracy Buckner: aging, kids, and why we self-medicate, or at http://tracybuckner.com