I am just not that good at the whole family vacation thing.
If we go to a festival or something, it seems I spend the half the time setting up camp, washing dishes, watching the kids, and breaking camp. If we go on a hike or something, I always end up carrying everyone else’s water bottles. And of course, we are cost-conscious enough that we’ll often take on some volunteering in return for a reduced rate. Each piece of this sort of thing makes perfect sense in and of itself, but I inevitably come back thinking I could really use a vacation– only jump straight back into the grind of work and chores and everything else.
At some point though, I just had to point out that… on the net of it… this sort of thing is pretty much no fun for me. Tell me to suck it up if you want… tell me I really need to take one for the team… but at the end of the day, if all a “vacation” amounts to is me taking care of the kids in a situation where we are completely not set up for it, then I’m just not going to be able to muster a lot of enthusiasm for it. I’d rather stay home and not get behind on all the usual things that need doing.
So that’s where vacation concept #2 comes in: family camp. It’s the standard camp experience– canoes, hikes, rifles, and archery– but they are set up to take care of the kids. And… this is weird to me, but the parents go there, too. Weird! I admit… going there, I felt like a total helicopter parent. But then, I was a stereotypical latchkey kid that was exiled to an all-male paramilitary camp every summer, so who am I to say what’s “normal?”
Being right there in the mix with a grab bag of kids and parents, I got exposed to just how outdated I am. Probably the one thing I just can’t fathom about recent trends is how every kid is exceptional now. And I don’t mean that in the Lake Woebegon sense, either. I mean if there is an activity going on and there are any sort of rules, it seems like everyone gets special case treatment. When I was in school, for instance, there was generally only one class clown, one kid on Ritalin, and maybe one kid with a special note about being exempted from such and such. Nowadays all the kids are like that. I honestly can’t figure out how they get anything done.
At any rate, everything seemed to work out anyway. I’d probably do it again.