Anticipating a vacation: the ups and downs
I’m taking my two sons on a little vacation trip up to a friend’s country house in northwestestern Connecticut tomorrow. It’s just the boys and me through the weekend – some much-heralded, male-bonding – because my wife can’t get away from work.
I’m eager to take to the open road. Come to think of it, though, Connecticut doesn’t seem to figure prominently in many road movies, and it’s perhaps the only state Jack Kerouac skips in his frenetic national tour, “On the Road.” (Let me know if I’m wrong.)
And once we get there we’ll play catch, throw a football, swim, maybe even fish, see a minor league ball game and a movie. And then there’s making pancakes for breakfast and cooking dinner on an outdoor grill, and for me, spending an hour or so at the end of each day reading a fascinating about Theodore Roosevelt, “Rising Like a Rocket” – if I have the energy left. Pretty idyllic.
But I’m also anticipating disputes between my two sons, ages 17 and 12, that can turn the outing sour – confrontations that would set Supernanny’s stiff upper lip aquiver and send her fleeing the premises in her black British-made auto.
Without pointing blame in this public forum, one of them is usually the instigator. I’m trying to get him on board in advance. In fact, I’ve been trying to get both on board by asking them what they would like to do during our trip – a suggestion that has not yet elicited a response.
And then there is the question of helping out on the trip. As in packing, shopping and other chores that need to get done. I think kids need to share these jobs. If today is any sign, I’m wary. One of my sons (not the instigator of the aforementioned confrontations) has been more interested in playing his Nintendo DS than walking over to his doctor’s office to pick up his medical form that he needs for his summer camp. The 11 a.m. deadline went, as did the noon deadline, and now they are closed for lunch at 1 p.m. He says he’ll go at 2 p.m. We’ll see.
So, obviously I’m a horrible parent. That said, I’m forgetting all those expectations in the preceding paragraphs and just going to play as it comes. Here’s hoping that your summer vacation provides the recharge of spirit that every parent needs.