Remember when you would go on vacation with your family and your mom would be overly enthusiastic about everything, making you want to visit the third historic graveyard of the trip even less? No? Maybe that was just our family then.
Remember when you had 8 people in your family scrunched in a hotel room meant for 4 with one lonely bathroom, making the shower schedule in the morning insane? Which meant you had to get up at the butt-crack of dawn so you wouldn't look like a grease ball, in order to visit yet another museum?
Or what about that time your family thought it was frivolous to rent a car to get from Plymouth Rock to the outdoor indigenous museum like 3 miles away, so you walked the whole way (still with your not-so-subtle family of 8) in intense heat? And don't forget about how you complained so much that your parents called a (yes, a as in one) cab for your entire family of 8 for the way back, so you all piled into the back seat as though it were Mary Poppin's purse. But that's fine. At least you didn't have to walk.
|the "death walk" from plymouth to the museum. Sorry, ladies, I had to.|
And who could forget the time Mom woke everyone up at 5:30 so you could get to early entry at the Magic Kingdom or Epcot or whatever, so you could ride Rockin' Roller coaster one more time?
|Rockin' Roller Coaster, 7 am|
I think everyone can relate with some ridiculous family vacation stories, because as kids (teenagers, really), there is nothing lamer than being seen with your parents. At 8 a.m. At a museum. With 5 siblings.
So would someone please tell me when I stopped being the complaining kid (grumble grumble, I can't believe Mom's making us do this, gripe complain, go back to texting my friends about how lame family vacation is) and became *gasp* my mom?
I have had plenty of experience traveling with friends and groups. I have even had a little bit of experience chaperoning a high school trip to Colorado, but it was with my best friend. And I was still a college student. Now here I am, overseeing 5 kids in a foreign country by myself. And I discovered a little something that may come as a shock to you:
teenagers have attitudes.
True story. This specimen of human beings is a mystery to the rest of us, although we were at one point a part of this group. It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict what will make them crabby, what will excite them, and what will make them dissolve into tears.
Just when I think we're about to do an activity that will change their outlook on life forever, they cross their arms, get a bored look on their face, and mumble something about it not being that amazing. While I may be grinning like a fool, in disbelief of the awesome life I'm living, I look over to find them grouchy and in need of a nap.
For awhile this really bothered me. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong to make their trip that forgettable. Did I plan boring activities? Am I already that out of touch with what teenagers like?
But after venting to my mother, she gave me 3 simple words that made me see the situation a little more clearly:
welcome to motherhood
I get it now, Mom. I understand the over-the-top optimism and cheerfulness. I get why you dragged us to every historical site. I know now why it was so important for you to experience everything a place had to offer. You wanted us to look back and realize what cool opportunities we had, and not regret missing out on something. You were trying to make the trip memorable, nay, unforgettable for us.
Which also reminds me that I was once that teenager, rolling my eyes and sighing. Pretending to not care about something that I may truly have been excited about. So maybe my students really are having a good time...it's just not cool to show it.
Whew. It's emotionally exhausting to be a leader. Thanks, Mom and Dad, for putting up with 6 teenage (or preteen...possibly worse) girls at once. We really do have great memories of our family vacations...I swear!
What is your most embarrassing family vacation memory?
Pura Vida, and keep dreaming, dreamers.