Saturday, July 2, 2011

Vacation tips from Caroline Ingalls

It is that time again.  Summertime.  Which, for many, means vacation time.  Interestingly enough, it also seems to correspond with several of my Facebook friends deciding to disable their accounts each year.  It turns out that reading all the posts and seeing the vacation photos just serves to drive them into a funk.  Call it weariness, or envy, or sadness—whatever the emotion—sometimes it is just too much of a reminder that their circumstances aren’t ‘as good’ as other people.  They know that more than likely their kids will never have an end of the summer, Disney/cruise/lion taming story to share with their friends.

I wish I could help them see that contrary to conventional wisdom, their kids aren’t doomed to a life of woe-is-me inadequacies.  A lot of that depends on the parent’s response and attitude.  For some (many?), money will always be tight and extravagant vacations will never be an option.  Work, bills, over-extendedness—these things can be an endless barrier.  Going to Disney World isn’t a rite of passage that guarantees well rounded, fully functioning adults.  When I am feeling the funky mindset coming on about this, all it takes is a couple of episodes of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ to straighten me up.  Forget Jamaica.  At least I don’t have to worry about hail destroying my crops and scarlet fever.  Not to mention that mean old Nellie.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am thrilled for every one of my friends that get to take their families ANY where, but especially the fun places.  I love seeing their pictures and hearing their stories, even the ones who are fortunate enough to go every year.  And, believe me, if I ever get to the place where everything is paid off and money isn’t an option, we are on the first plane out of here.  (First stop—Univeral Studios/Harry Potter World). I guess I’m just lucky to have grown up in a time and place where vacations were rare, and simple, and weren’t an indicator of social status or self esteem.  Hopefully, I am passing that on to my kids, seeing as how their vacations have been simple at best.  I’ll keep telling myself that, at least until they are old enough to pay their own therapy bills.

Our vacation this year?  A combination trip to see a medical specialist and then on to a cut rate room that requires attendance at one of those time-share pitch meetings.  And, get this.  The two youngest boys are not even going to get to come.  I gave them plenty of notice that if they didn’t tone down their arguing, then they were staying home.  Guess what?  They are staying home.  Do I feel guilty about this?  Not even a little.  I would have done the same thing even if we were going to Disney for the first time.  Does that make me a mean momma?  Maybe.  But their character development is more important to me than their momentary happiness.

And if not—well, I guess that therapist will have plenty of material to work with one day.