Summer vacation – a time all of us look forward to with great anticipation, trepidation and sometimes outright terror. The ghosts of vacations of the past, present and future visit us in our sleep to warn us about the evils of overplanning, underplanning, spending too much and eating too much. However, every year we embark on our quest again with fresh hope that this will be the vacation which will enlighten our children, lift our spirits and make a difference in our lives – instead of turning the entire family into a group of screaming maniacs ready to be committed to the nearest asylum!
My family is no different – every year we plan a trip to help the children bond and learn the true joy of a family. We usually go to Minnesota or to my hometown in Gunnison, Colorado for a week in a cabin. We don’t choose just any old cabin – I always find a place which doesn’t have television or cell phone reception – but at the same time has indoor plumbing and electricity – I’m not a complete idiot! For those of you with children with cell phones permanently attached to their heads – the lack of cell phone reception is not just a way to make them communicate with each other – it is a financial necessity. $700 cell phone bills because your children need to talk to their friends, is not a pleasant thing to get in the mail after vacation. We were lucky the first few years of our cell phone usage – my husband has a tendency to drown cell phones in the first couple of days – so that puts them out of use permanently. We have drowned cell phones in all of the major bodies of water – Lake Superior, rivers, reservoirs and even the Gulf of Mexico. Just a hint – cell phones sizzle when dropped into salt water!
While on our vacations, we have a fishing contest which is our family’s way of teaching everyone to lie with a straight face. If I were to believe my sons and my husband, over the past 6 years we would have caught over 3000 fish – of which, I have actually seen three. Yes, it is a wonderful thing to pass on to your children – they will all be good professional poker players in the future!
The evenings are spent with children talking to each other and playing board games – which of course, means no electronic games and sometimes re-teaching your children how to count cards. These evenings have always been great revelations to me – I can tell you which of children is a good cheater, which ones are sore losers and which ones are card sharks. Watch out Vegas!
This is the only time of the year the children actually interact with each other and with us – and I think we are thankful for that. I’m not sure I can take that much closeness year round. I might find out other bad habits I have passed on to my children of which I would just as soon be blissfully unaware. Plus – it gives our vacation an aura of success that we can carry with us the rest of the year. So when it is time to plan for the next vacation, we can have this wonderful, false memory of how great the last vacation was. It’s a little like childbirth – if we really clearly remembered the pain – everyone would have one child and only one vacation.