Thursday, November 1, 2012

"Business" Trips and Family "Vacations" Part II

Part II? you say.  What was Part I?  Let me help you out.  Part I was a post I did so long ago, those who read it have long since forgotten what was in it or that a sequel was promised.  As everyone in Hollywood knows, if you are going to do sequels or prequels, the original must either be followed very quickly by the accompanying films (Twilight) or it must be so awesomely awesome, so culturally relevant, so altering of human existence, audiences will wait with bated breath for decades to see the next film, and in the meantime memorize every line of the original (Star Wars, The Muppets Take Manhattan).   In this case, the first post was forgettable and the second belated, so lesson learned: Do not do two-parters.  You cannot pull it off.  You just can't.

Nevertheless, I promised Part II, and so I'm pretty much trapped and have to write something.  A brief re-cap: The point of Part I, in case you missed it (even if you read it), my work trip felt like a vacation.  So guess what this post is about?  Our vacation being a lot of work.  Now you don't even have to read this.  Maybe I don't even have to write it.  But I will, because this blog is one of the few if only things standing between me and a 50-point IQ drop.

As you well know, I try not to take my children anywhere.  Not to the grocery store, not to a restaurant, and certainly not on vacation.  Because that would then not be a vacation, it is a logical impossibility.    But summer after summer of viewing my friends' family vacation photos on Facebook, their cherubic children frolicking in the waves and digging happily in the sand, I became seduced by the idea of renting a house on the Outer Banks and having a real Family Vacation.  In my vision, Kevin and I would lounge on chairs and read books, exchanging contented glances every once and awhile, while Charlotte and Lawson played near by, so enthralled by the wonders of nature, hours would pass unnoticed.  Then they would collapse in their beds and sleep 14 hours straight, so exhausted by the sun and fun, we could barely rouse them at 9 am.

I'm trying to remember exactly how things did go, being that this all happened 2 months ago and my memory is not what is used to be, but I'm pretty sure it didn't go like that.  First of all, I hate to disappoint people, but it was actually not that bad.  I know, shocking.  My parents came with us, which was a big help.  My mother cooked all our meals. Also, it turned out to be a very good thing that my parents are not huge beach people and preferred to stay indoors and watch baseball.  Because that is actually where the rest of my family preferred to be as well.  Much to my horror, I had to literally drag my children (and my husband, I might add) to the beach and force them to play in the sand and surf most of the time.   The first few days, Charlotte was fairly enthusiastic, especially about the waves.  Then she got rolled a few too many times and that was that.  By day 3, she was DONE.  Lawson on the other hand had only just decided we weren't trying to kill him by day 3.  After that he was OK with the beach, at least for about 20 minutes, 45 if you brought snacks.  Then he was done.  Kevin had nothing against the beach per se, but his prep routine/sunscreen application took much of the day.  For the first few days, I expended much energy trying to pump people up, slather them with sunscreen, and herd them down to the beach, where I enthusiastically jumped around like some kind of Richard Simmons clone on steroids demonstrating all the fun activities you could do on the beach in hopes of peaking the interest of my children (Look, kids! I brought a blow up pool we can fill with buckets of water!  Look how I am burying the Ariel doll in the sand!  Isn't that a hoot? Here, watch how I am digging a big hole with a toy bulldozer! Fun Fun! Fun!) Then around Thursday, yes it took me that long because I'm not very bright, I realized--wait a second, if no one else wants to come to the beach, including 3 responsible adults who could supervise the 2 curmudgeonly small children, and I go down to the beach, I will be there BY MYSELF, alone with the waves, a good book, a soft breeze.  NO ONE ELSE will be there.  And THAT, my friends, IS a vacation.  Like a real one.  I had struck gold.

I think we will indeed return to the Outer Banks next year.  Let's hope my children are still deathly afraid of fun.


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