I look forward to vacationing with my children. I believe each year, despite what difficulties may arise: it is an opportunity for bonding, exploring, and creating new memories to treasure. It’s not that I forgot the challenges of year’s past. It’s just that I don’t hold grudges. I have found that with maturity and yes-forgiveness, each year presents new opportunities.
It’s not that I believe this year’s vacation will finally be blissful. I’ve given up on that long ago. Experience has shown me that our vacation will be special, although maybe not all of it. Each year, I continue to present my family with the opportunity to share in a fabulous time together. It is up to them to make the most of it.
It seems year after year, as they have gone from childhood, to adolescents, and are now all entering adulthood, I am happy to find: they have treasured memories and continue to look forward to our summer vacations.
I’m amazed, as I hadn’t thrown in the towel long ago, to now arrive at a time when Sarah, whom for years stated she hates camping, at twenty-years-old, is now looking forward to this year’s camping adventure. Last year, thinking it maybe the last year Sarah would vacation with us at Cape Cod, I splurged renting us a cottage. I think her excitement toward camping may have been due to my consideration having upscaled our trip for her comfort or perhaps that with her maturity, she is now able to get past the accommodations and to cherish the opportunities vacation presents.
Last year, the freshie had insisted she bring her eighteen year old friend along with us. The girls had a great time meeting and hanging out with local boys, loitering on the beach, late into the night. Unwilling to follow my rules gained them a free pass. I bought them a little tent, booked them a campsite, and cut them loose. I found it was safer and much easier to checkup on them sitting by a campfire, at a designated campsite patrolled by park rangers, then it would have been finding them on a dark restricted beach. I had my reservations in doing so, but it was that or pack it in and go home. I couldn’t see forfeiting $1550.00, a dream vacation, and ruin everyone’s chance at a good time.
Over the years, I also had my challenges with Matthew during a few vacations. After fighting with his sister in a restaurant, many years ago, I left the two of them in the parking lot to walk back down the Avenue to the resort together. There was also another incident in Matt’s early teens, with his fresh mouth when he was cursing me at a campground, Fred was amazed, as was Matthew and I, that I left him behind as we went out on our days excursion. In time, his threat to never come on vacation with us again, turned into an adjustment in his attitude regarding entitlement and respect.
There were two trips all packed up and ready to go that we almost didn’t take. Once on our drive to Florida, when the freshie had a fit over there being too little room in the car and she accidentally put her hand through the pane of glass when she stormed back into the house. After applying pressure and wrapping her hand in gauze, I re-arranged her sitting area in the car, and we hit the road, the whole time I wondered if I should have taken her for stitches.
The other trip we almost missed was camping at the Cape, when we needed to stop at the doctor’s office without an appointment as late, the evening before, a bulls-eye had developed around a bite Matthew had gotten three weeks earlier, that I had been watching. As the car arrived in the parking lot packed to the brim, bicycles on the rear, we were taken right in, as it seemed apparent this must be some sort of emergency. He was diagnosed with Lymes disease and sent off with a prescription for antibiotics.
The freshie has mentioned reserving her own campsite this summer, although she has yet to come up with the hundred dollars. Perhaps her appreciation is growing? Only time will tell…
I admit I had to make some difficult parenting decisions over the years as my children have challenged me, but as I never gave up on them, I have also never given up on our family vacations.
I see families with three generations enjoying their summer vacations together on the Cape. I want this to be us. This is, why I bother. Family is important. If this was not how I raised them… Why would they ever grow up to want this? Perhaps by then, they will all have learned to behave, if not that’s okay, we know how to get over it. After all, we are family.