Remind me again why we brought these kids on “vacation?”
Because we had no choice, due to the startling lack of cheap, temporary kid-boarding houses.
No, that’s definitely not it. Rather shocked at the implication, frankly. (Although, now that I think about it, that’s not a wholly bad idea. It’d be like a pet boarding hotel…only for kids. Omg that is so bad. I’m never saying that out loud again.)
Because you want to look good to other mothers, hoping it’ll outshine your obvious deficiencies: “See what a good mom I am? I take my kids places! I yell a lot, and have never once completed a baby memory book, and occasionally my children eat frozen food for 3 days in a row, but I take them places!”
Nope. Not really it either. I gave up caring what people think about me quite a while ago, right about the time I realized I’ll never, ever, no matter how hard I try, figure out how to stop saying “fuck” at inappropriate moments. Or hold my tongue when I really need to.
Alright. How about this one…so when your kid grows up an out-of-touch derelict, you have photographic evidence that you at least TRIED.
Okay, that’s getting closer, but it’s still not quite right.
Oh, I got it!…Because you continue to rely on the vision you’ve crafted in your head [of some idyllic family vacation], rather than accepting REALITY, which is, of course, that vacations with your children are comprised of heinous inconveniences and sheer unpleasantness, dotted with random, fleeting moments of the sublime.
Yes. Right. Pretty much that.
And the derelict thing.
For those of you who may be new here, the italics represent the voice in my head (well, one of them) – don’t be alarmed, though. It’s a friendly voice. Little crazy, but friendly. Means no harm.
Why the fuck do we bring kids on vacation?
They are just so bad.
Let me paint a picture for you: we’re in old-growth redwood forest, alongside the Smith River, one of the most stunning, pristine rivers in California, it’s sunny, 70 degrees of perfection, there’s space everywhere and about a million things to do, all of which should, theoretically, entertain the hell out of kids, (sticks and rocks and bugs and trees and crafts I brought and books and campfires and food)…and what are my kids doing? Arguing about who gets to play in the tent. Arguing about who got to hang in the hammock 1 minute longer than the other. Arguing about whose fairy house is better. Arguing about WHO OWNS THIS PARTICULAR STICK.
There is wild open space in all directions, and my kids are within 3 inches of each other at all times, even though they can hardly stand one another.
And I want to chuck them into the river.
Do they know how much work this is? How much money it costs? How much effort is being exerted to create this little nature soiree? How drastically they’re messing with the mama vision I have floating in my delusional head?
I bring watercolors. Rocket FLIPS his lid because the wind catches his painting and it falls on the ground. Henceforth uninterested. Ava paints, but is so sure her painting is horrible she sulks and whines in the depths of self-pity for a good 15 minutes.
If they’re in the river, they want to be in the campsite.
If they’re at the campsite, they want to be in the river.
And so it goes.
Are my kids just bad?
Or maybe, and this is probably more likely, I’m holding so tightly to what I think vacation should be that I am unable to accept reality. Accept what is. I fight it and I get pissed. I project my unrealistic vision of Waldorf nature moments and family memory-creation so severely onto the situation that I miss the beauty that’s right in front of me: my kids being kids. My family being my family. Whatever that means – with all its imperfections.
Because when I really look at it, what bothers me the most, what really pisses me off, is that they’re messin’ with my idea of “camping with family.” They’re fucking with my plan. I hate that.
Or, they’re just shitheads.
Either way, I know what I’ll remember next year are the moments of sublime. The mind is sick like that. It only remembers the good shit, so you fall right back in the same trap, thinking for sure this time, it’s gonna be different. It’s gonna be amazing. We’re all gonna sit and meditate and paint together in deep contemplative quiet of the universe and all that is holy and good. And we’ll sing songs and play in the dirt and nobody’s going to bicker or complain because how could they? Look where we are! We’re in the damn redwoods.
No, we’re not. We’re in a bigger version of our living room.
And I. Where am I? In my head, of course, wishing I could get these kids to get in my head too, so at least they could cooperate with my nice peaceful vision.
I know they’d like it in here if they’d just give it a try.