Every August it’s with a sliver of anticipation and a boatload of eye-rolling that I look toward vacation. Yes, Mama needs a break, but will she actually get one traveling with three wild boys and one narcoleptic husband? It seems about as unlikely as using the word “relaxing” to describe our intended sojourn across multiple states in the name of fun.
In in open letter below, directed at my sons or anyone else who’ll listen, I’ve listed the reasons I’m not so gung-ho about taking our show on the road this month. Don’t get me wrong: I want to take a vacation, just maybe not with my own family.
- You know I love your Steve Harvey imitation. But I don’t want to hear it for seven hours as we’re hurtling toward a water park where we’ll catch a foot fungus that’ll take us ’til next summer to eradicate.
- When we finally get to the hotel, know that I understand no one wants to share a bed with a kid brother. But, after 15 years, do you think I always want to sleep with your dad? No, but I still do it. Suck it up!
- You tell me this is the year you’re not going to chicken out and we’re really going to ride that zero-gravity roller coaster. Like a sap, I believe you. But, after 90 minutes of standing behind a heavily-pierced couple who’ve been licking each other like two Rottweilers grappling with a single peanut butter-filled kong, you tell me, “Sorry, Mom, maybe next year!” and we slink down the exit stairs sweaty and embarrassed, proving the over-arching theme of our trip: Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!
- Do I really have the fortitude to watch my 10-year-old cannonball his way into the middle of a biker gang en route to an NRA rally in the middle of our puddle of an indoor hotel pool? (Insert profuse apologizing on my part, while my husband takes his third nap of the day in a rickety chaise lounge here.)
- If you’ve just eaten a miniature log cabin you built with sausages at the free breakfast buffet while I’m slicing up your brother’s Belgian waffle, I’m not going to have any sympathy an hour later when you tell me you’re so sick you couldn’t possibly go swimming/hiking/sight-seeing or do anything other than watch SpongeBob in our hotel room. You’re going, little piggy!
- Just because we’re on vacation, that doesn’t mean we’ve suddenly catapulted into Bill Gates-wealth strata. Yes, I did just spend $7.50 on a funnel cake, so that’s confusing. But when we’re exiting a ride through a gift shop, I’m still not buying you a gold-plated light saber. ‘Nuff said.
- If you’re taking more selfies than Kylie Jenner just so you can capture the bikini-clad Taylor Swift-lookalike in the background, I will confiscate your phone.
- Can I actually muster the strength to endure five rounds of “I thought YOU had the room key!” with my husband while our youngest is on the verge of pooping in the hotel hallway?
- I want to eat a meal in a restaurant where my server isn’t wearing suspenders, my wine didn’t come from a box, and my kids don’t have the opportunity to lodge crayons up their noses while waiting for the nachos and fried mozzarella that are actually considered a “kids meal.”
- I can’t bear to hear that you’re bored two hours after I just blew September’s mortgage payment on theme-park admission.
Of course, I want to make once-in-a-lifetime-style memories with my family, just not the kind I’ll need a hypnotist to help me forget as soon as I return home.
Elizabeth Alterman is a mom of three who enjoys baking, gardening, and making fun of reality television. You can read more about her adventures in unemployment and under-achieving at ballsofourasses.blogspot.com.