Surviving Summer Funtimes: Week the Ninth

All I ever wanted
Had to get away
Meant to be spent alone

There are certain truths when my family takes a vacation:

The day before we leave, I will be in a frenzy cleaning the house, which somehow never seems clean when we return. I will overpack. I’m getting better about clothing, but I still manage to bring five trial size mascaras and 15 different liquid highlighters that I end up throwing out because they all just give me disco wrinkles. And books. Somehow I think I will read 17 books in six days at the beach with my kids. 

Something eventful will happen at the last moment – in this case my baby girl lost her very first tooth while brushing before bed, so we had to  deal with her impressive freak out about the blood and also she dropped her damned tooth down the drain. My dear husband took on the ick factor of tooth retrieval, but do you know how small baby teeth are? It was a goner, for sure, but amazingly, when I went looking for the hold-the-tooth-cuz-it-came-out-at-school necklace we had (thank you, school nurse!) there was still an old tooth in it from my son.

Yeah, gross, ok, but the point is we had a tooth, we prepped for the typical tooth fairy exchange, which we do via mailbox because our dog scares the tooth fairy (and also my kid is a really light sleeper).

Every year, my husband realizes he actually needs to pack and does so fifteen minutes before we’re scheduled to depart.

The kids realize how much they are going to miss the dog and they start crying, and us saying that the dog sitter would be here four times a day and probably give the dog even more attention than we do does not help. Perhaps it’s my delivery. Needless to say, they love this dog and have very strange notions about attachment.

To distract themselves, they will ask if they can create a playlist for the trip. Desperate to get 15 extra loads of laundry done before we leave, I say sure.

And about ten miles from home I learn one of my kids likes country music…which…I don’t know. It’s not genetic.

During the trip, we will be thrilled with less. A small beach house. Cheese and crackers and yogurt for lunch. A fire pit for evening entertainment. We will find all the happiness that’s been hiding between schedules and worries and stress and doing. Happiness is at the beach.

During vacation, the kids will find everything cool, even the grocery store, which I cannot for the life of me drag them to during the year. At the beach, though? It’s awesome. And because it’s awesome, they’re willing to try some foods that, at home, are untouchable, including my veggie sandwiches.

There will be other magic as well. This year, one morning I woke to see six deer no more than five feet from the house. They hung out for a while, not particularly phased when my kids shuffled over to see what I was gawking at.

We will resolve to practice self-care during the school year. For me, now, it’s simple. It’s yes, or no – whichever aligns with what I truly want. It’s not explaining myself when it’s not necessary.

And at some point or another, I will lose my temper at some small squabble over some child’s protest of injustice against a sibling. We all return to happy soon enough. A few deep breaths help me remember that they’ve had a big summer and they’re tired and they’re about to start school anew.

We will go to a pretty spectacular arcade housed in a local casino. The kids will have too much fun and I will inhale too much of the “air freshener” that is just Axe Body Spray pumped through the air vents to fight a battle to the death with cigarette smoke.

This year, we took a picture of the boys and the girl at said stinky arcade/casino holding a piece of landfill she “won” with the help of her brothers.

We will eat s’mores and kebobs and all things we can impale on sticks and hold over an open fire. We’ll stay up late and watch goofy game shows. The kids will sleep as late as they ever do – half past the ass-crack of dawn. But, still. Half past.

And, at the end of the week, as usual, four of us will get sick. This year, three with a cold, and me with a bubonic migraine which I’m still reeling from. Hence the late post. Kids recover quickly, my husband powers through the drive home, and the kids and dog reunite in a flurry of wagging tales and big hugs.

Beach Vacation 2018. In the books.

3 thoughts on “Surviving Summer Funtimes: Week the Ninth

  1. The ninth inning! I love your depiction of the family “vacation”. I decided to call them “trips” as I never quite felt I was vacating. A recent NYT article talked about how we remember family vacations more fondly with time and forget all the squabbles and mishaps. How about this one from my family record: Rent house on Cape Cod. Find it invaded with ants upon arrival. Treat ants. Then 6 days later have the new renters arrive because the phantom house owner double booked. Yes, we were kicked out a day early. But now we all laugh remembering it!


    1. I am clinging madly to the hope that all the vacation…er…trip mishaps either fade into beauty or become the stuff of comedy.

      Holy cow, that’s quite a Cape Cod adventure. I hope to read about it in full some day!


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