AH! The ever so exciting, vacation planning.
My family is planning a road trip from New York to Florida. The plan was for 2 of my sons, the older boy’s girlfriend, my mother in law and of course myself and husband. The older boy is 24, and he has the nerve to be in a wedding and have a great job interview lined up. This will be my first vacation without him. He however has been on many without me! I’m not sure how I feel about this yet. On one hand he saved me from spending $100’s on having to kennel my 3 dogs and finding a sitter for the cat. I also save on the $ that would have been spent on him to ensure an even attitude! On the other hand my heart is heavy, I mean really how dare he grow up !!! My youngest being only 11, saves him from the melodrama. I swear the older 2 (29 &24) have no clue what their younger brother has saved them from. I could be a beggar and the crafty mother still able to guilt them into searching for the big mouse with me. I contemplated changing the dates of travel to accommodate him, but my mother-in-law over ruled that. We dare not interfere with her schedule! ( I know you wondering about the 29 year old…He is married and blessed me with 3 grand-daughters, which I would love to vacation with but that’s another story)
I am so blessed that my mother-in-law still vacations with us. I realize how lucky I am that I have the 11-year-old. I am sure my mother-in-law loves me and her son but somehow doubt the excitement would be present if not for her grandson. Well maybe this vacation because we are staying with my brother-in-law who moved to Florida a few years back and visiting my husband’s uncle who has lived there as long as I know him. She is thrilled to see her son’s new home and visit with her brother.
Now that I don’t have to worry about finding a suitable kennel for the dogs or a sitter for the cat. I have to plan their every meal and somehow ensure they do not shed while I am not here to vacuum the hair. I have to cut, slice and dice their food and have it portioned out for the convenience of the older boy. I have to leave notes in the fridge , by the sink and near their water bowl to feel satisfied that the boy will keep them hydrated. Before I go I have to somehow find a way for the boy to appreciate their love and devotion to feel comfortable knowing he will show them adequate affection.
I feel guilty that the boy has to fend for himself so I will stock the fridge with all his favorite vegetarian foods. Of course leave enough money for him to order out because no matter what I stock the fridge with, he is sure not to like, want or trust that it is indeed vegetarian!
So the planning… I already reserved a rental car. I mean we can’t travel such a distance and put miles on the every day car. The hunt for the best price was at my finger tips and just a click away from reserving. The 11-year-old had a growth spurt throughout the winter so he of course needs new summer clothes. Not just plain old t-shirt’s and shorts that I can run and pick up within 10 minutes. No..he he is older now and feels the need to pick out his own clothes. Planning a suitable time for him to grace me with his presence in the store is when the negotiation began. He can not wear plain solid shirts, he need graphic design which can not be stiff feeling cotton, the shirts must feel like silk. I was forced to search high and low for the perfect length shorts to match the graphic t-shirt. He simply could not be seen in shorts that were “too short”! I negotiated my way into purchasing a few tank tops that would match the perfect length short. Which he stated he would only wear at his uncles, because after all “it’s weird” for boys to wear tank tops, “you wear them Mom”! I gave up trying to explain and visually show him the difference between tween boy tank tops and “mom” tank tops. As the heat rose from my toes I wished with all that I had that I just didn’t mention the fact that he needed new clothes and simply search the web and had them delivered to my door, packed them and gave him to choice! (Mom fail 101, giving choices)
My husband is the easiest, I simply fill him on the when and where. His suit case get packed without input. I dutifully pack his favorite shorts, comfortable shirts and shoes and always a little extra in case he hates what I packed. And I never forget a dress outfit in case a night of fancy eating is suggested.
OK, in full disclosure…I learned a hard lesson. A few years back we went on a cruise. Keep that in mind, A Cruise! No where to shop for clothes, no fancy dining options unless of course you shop at the on board high (very high) end store, where nothing is under $250.00! (not even under garments) Well I dutifully packed ALL his FAT clothing! . I somehow forgot that he lost a ton of weight throughout the year, I’m talking loosing more than 3 sizes. I was just so impressed with myself that I was ahead of schedule that I packed and loaded without realizing I had not purchased clothing to accommodate the weight loss. . Well, bless the man. We had a good laugh and bought a shiny new very expensive belt from the very high-end on board shop and for the first time he had an even upper body tan! (no pesky shirt lines) If I had not been foolishly impressed with myself I could have clothed my entire family for the next few seasons with what we spent on that belt!
So as I make sure of the clothing size and pack the boys silky tops and perfect length shorts and shove whatever I think will camouflage the extra pounds brought on by menopause for myself I begin to panic. What are my characters going to do while I’m gone? Dare I bring my lap top and keep them engaged? I could bring my notebook and pen and enter their shenanigans upon my return, but I feel they will be idle too long. How can I keep them spinning towards triumph and defeat as I’m driving and keeping conversation with my mother-in-law flowing and restraining the 11-year-old from asking “are we there yet”! How am I supposed to enjoy the visit with family if I’m consumed with finding the right strategy for my characters to cope with their emotions? I certainly can not walk around searching for the over grown mouse while thinking my youngest character deserves to find what he seeks. So now I have to plan in advance their every move. I need to propel them to the end before I plan my selfish vacation! I need to plan for them to get where they need to be or at the very least to make them understand why they will be idle.
Planning for vacation is ever so exciting! At the same time the feeling of guilt leaving the 24-year-old, the dogs, the cat and my characters behind is crippling!