I’m about to leave on vacation. A LONG vacation. The longest vacation of my life, I think; at least since I was a child and had summers off and thought they were boring. This one’s a TWO WEEK vacation, friends. And just let me clarify here — I’m talking about TWO WEEKS IN A ROW — which is UNTOLD RICHES as far as I’m concerned and like WINNING THE LOTTERY and is entirely thanks to my mother who’s unreasonably generous and my father who’s also unreasonably generous but likes to be gruff and grim and mutter under his breath, “She wastes all the money on the children.”
I’m as ecstatic about vacation (VACATION!) as I am embarrassed and hidey and reluctant to confess I get this one. It’s a strange world inside my head, because I love to tell you our gross poop stories, and I’m happy to write about humiliating myself in public, and I love so much – SO MUCH – that we momrades wave to each other in the dark, but I’m realizing I’m upside down and backwards, because the good things are sometimes harder to report. The things like TWO WEEK VACATIONS, because I have a kind of survivor’s guilt.
It’s just that I remember the times when we needed a break in those earliest parenting years, and we couldn’t afford one. Couldn’t afford it financially, although we often cobbled together an excuse for spending more than we had. And couldn’t afford it emotionally, because as much as I wanted to be away from the littles, I hated it, too. I was drowning without kid breaks, and I was drowning when I brought them along, because, it turns out parenting is hard all the time. On vacations or not. With kids or longing for them. And, let’s be honest; even if you can afford one, breaks are rarely breaks in those early years. Not to be dramatic, but thinking I might get a break and then having that expectation dashed on the rocks of ruined dreams and wasted hopes was the worst. The worst.
And so I find myself reluctant to talk about all the things that are good and easy now, the total miracles of kids getting older, like the fact that they put on their own seatbelts these days (!) and wipe their own bottoms, like, 92% of the time. It’s been a week now – a WEEK – since I’ve seen anyone’s butthole, you guys. And, sure, I woke up the other morning to a little boy penis in my face because “LOOK! There is fuzz on this thing, Mom,” (psst… it was dryer lint) “and I can’t pick it all off by myself,” and we had to have a cute little chat about penises and faces and what other solutions there might be for defuzzing one’s man parts, but STILL. No buttholes! These things eventually happen. Are eventually possible.
It’s a whole new world, I tell you.
Now, here we go. In one day’s time, we leave on VACATION. With ONLY TWO CHILDREN! Because we’re terrible parents, of course, taking some with us and leaving some behind. And also because our 14 year old – the one who has special needs and anxiety issues and just HATES vacations (a lot) (a lot, a lot) – will be at camp for a week. And because our 12 year old will be there, too. And because our 15 year old was all, “Do I HAVE to go?” And I was all, “HELL, NO! STAY HOME!” Except it sounded like, “Oh, baby, we’ll miss you so much, but if you REALLY want to stay in town with your friends, I’ll allow it.” So, although we’ll all meet up for the second week of vacation (in order to collectively torture the 14 year old, of course), this first week will be… dare I say it??… relaxing as we cruise for a week to Alaska and back.
We booked the cruise at the last minute because they’re way, WAY cheaper that way, (hint: check out VacationsToGo.com, especially their 90 Day Ticker <– not a sponsored ad… just the way we’ve been able to afford trips), and cheap is how we roll.
So cheap, in fact, that Greg and I weren’t planning to stay in the same room on the ship, because the cheapest rooms are too tiny to accommodate 4 of us, and we weren’t willing to spend the parents’ money on more expensive staterooms. It was going to be me + a kid in one room, and Greg + a kid in another. But WHO CARES? It’s still VACATION, right? I mean, we’ve arranged awkward conjugal visits in the past. Heck, we live with 5 children, half of whom sleep in our room every night. We’re like the reining World Champions of Awkward Conjugal Visits. We could teach classes.
But the Vacation Fairy shined down upon us.
You guys! You GUYS. Greg answered his phone yesterday. Which isn’t unusual at all, because my husband is an extrovert. When his phone rings, his response is like a Golden Retriever’s when someone’s at the door. It’s a person! It’s a person! It’s a person! Someone’s at the door! At the door! At the door! A PERSON! WOOHOO! And he tackles the person on the phone and licks them to death. Because JOY!
I, on the other hand, am an introvert. My phone is on silent all day, and I often don’t get my messages for hours and hours, which drives my teenage daughter INSANE. I don’t answer the phone at the dinner table, and I’ve spent years – YEARS – mocking Greg for his inability to ignore a ringing phone, even when he doesn’t recognize the number. Rolling my eyes. Lifting my eyebrows in a silent “seriously? SERIOUSLY?” To which he responds, “But it might be IMPORTANT.”
He’s answered EVERY CALL. For TWENTY YEARS. Every sales call. Every political pitch. Every scam. EVERY CALL.
Yesterday he took a call from an unknown number. From our cruise line, it turned out. Offering to upgrade us for free to a suite. A SUITE. For FREE. Instead of two, teeny, non-adjoining rooms with life boats in front of our windows, for which we were genuinely excited, we get a suite with a BALCONY. And amenities. And fresh flowers. And an extended room service menu. And a complimentary mini-bar. Who even knew that existed?? That that’s a thing?
So here we go on VACATION. A vacation with LUXURIES. And I know I sound like a loon and a Neanderthal. And I know I never, ever, ever get to give Greg crap again for answering the phone, which is a significant loss to my marital repertoire. And I know we’ll probably embarrass ourselves with wide eyes and oooohhing and aaaaahhing and gushing about free laundry service to our cabin steward. But right now, I can’t bring myself to care. Because VACATION.
I hope you’ll bear with me over the next couple of weeks as I talk about vacations and family and, well, resting. I know it’s not the usual fare here. And we all know someone will get sick and vomit all over the fancy suite and make it all OK eventually. In the meantime, I’d love any tips you have to offer, especially if you know how to be fancy! We can use all the tips you have.
P.S. Greg asked me what canapés are. Apparently they bring them to our room every evening. I said, in my very best I-can’t-believe-you-don’t-already-know-this voice, “They’re hors d’oeuvres. Appetizers. Duh.” Then I googled “canapé.” I was right! Woohoo!
P.P.S. I also went on the Google to look up how to spell hors d’oeuvres.