August 4, 2010

Dart loves to tell the story about this GREAT summer vacation his family took…driving across the country, in a station wagon with no air conditioning, facing backward in the third row seat. I think it is whitewashed memories like this that lead us to say things like, “hey wouldn’t it be fun to go on a family road trip!”...

We are just days away from leaving on our family summer vacation. This is the point in the trip when all things are possible. I imagine my lovely well behaved children, dressed neat and clean, smiling and thanking us profusely for taking them on yet another amazing family adventure. Yes the point in the trip when everyone is filled with anticipation. That heavenly bit of nirvana that lasts until just about the time we leave the driveway. Without fail or much delay reality rears its ugly, complaining, are we there yet, he’s touching me, who farted head.

I think my oldest son had it right when he proclaimed “your problem” is “you like the idea of family vacation more than the reality”. He has a point. But is it really that hard for them to just stay on script. That’s all I ask, (well that and for everyone to learn to play their instrument for the family band I would like us to form).

I think the problem (and yes it is MY problem) is I am comparing them to an ideal (ok specifically to "Hawaii Bound" episode 73 of the Brady Bunch) rather than to something based in reality. I mean how can we possibly look good compared to a family of 8 who gleefully share one bathroom? That’s not normal. (Is it?)

Anyone else think it was strange to take the housekeeper on vacation with you?

My family is real and decidedly NOT on script, which when I think about it makes for a much more interesting adventure than finding some tiki in a cave, (roll with me people that was another Brady reference). The point is I am going to try hard to enjoy my perfectly imperfect family. I am not going to expect my children to love every moment of familiar bonding. The kids will complain and cry and crank…the parents will too. Car sickness, red Kool-Aid, French fries and cheese doodles will perfume and decorate our new car. We will stop at three consecutive highway exits to pee. Someone will forget to pack underwear or a toothbrush or shoes. The kids WILL touch each other and no one will want to sing even a short medley of Broadway show tunes. We will get lost.

And one day, long after this vacation is over, when time has softened our memories and the car has been vacuumed and Fabreezed, we will talk about that great car trip we all took to Branson Missouri (oh yeah that’s where we are going-jealous yet?).

Perhaps all I really need to do is adjust my vacation expectations…

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