The Family Vacation

21 Jul

The Family Vacation is a unique event. It’s quite different than the vacation with friends where there is solidarity of purpose and a general feeling that the same things needs to happen in order for the trip itself to be successful. Similarly, it isn’t completely like a war, where you have at least two dissenting factions, whose purposes are antithetical. Could be close to that, though.

As an adult, I’ve now viewed the family vacation from Both Sides Now (Joni Mitchell song stuck in my head now). I realize that the perspectives are more similar than different and yet, they are worlds apart.

As a child, the family vacation was about being bossed around and doing what you are told. You were doing things that your parents told you that you would like, but the events all seem like things you would never choose to do. When there finally is something that you like, you are rushed through it and you want to just sit and relax on that thing. You feel like your parents are calling the shots and you just can’t wait to get home where you can relax and recover from the vacation.

As a parent, the family vacation is about being told by your children that the things you’ve chosen are no fun. Despite the fact that they may not like or appreciate the things you are choosing to do now, you know that they will remember them fondly later. You feel like your children are dragging their feet through certain events, fighting over things that just don’t matter, and just making your life miserable. You just can’t wait to get home to relax and recover from the vacation.

The similarities are easy to see, and many might be led to make the decision that you should never take a family vacation. I feel that would be short sighted and wrong. From both sides, you can see the love that a family has. From both sides, you can appreciate the little things and the memories that are made. From both sides, the sacrifice of the other is eventually seen.

This particular trip, my family took, because of the wedding of my good friend, David Poston (oh yeah, Emily Ludlow Poston was involved also). It was a stupid-long drive (about 20 hours one way) and there aren’t a lot of things that we want to do “on the way.” Kelly, however, did an excellent job of mapping out 2-3 fun things to do each day, and we have been pleased with the results.

We went swimming in a hotel pool, saw Niagara Falls, stuck our hands in Canada, visited with friends, went out to eat, watched movies in the car, took adventurous little trips, marveled at Tudor’s Biscuit World, and saved hotel room keys from each state. Now, if only the second half of our trip (the return leg) can be as much concurrent fun and torture, we should be in for a wonderful time and memory.

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