I took the fam to the gulf coast over the weekend. We were joined by my wife’s cousin and her kids to make a total of eight people: three adults and five kids. We were outnumbered. Surprisingly, not much went wrong. Given my Grizwaldian luck, I was very surprised. No car trouble, no bad weather, no bad hotel neighbors. It was a great time had by all. I did, however, learn a few things about myself and my family during the trip.
1. I’m dropping the ball. I found myself over the weekend asking myself, “Why don’t they know these things already?” What things, you ask? Little things like adjusting the A/C in the car without asking. When I was little I just knew to never touch it. I don’t remember anyone ever telling me that, I just remember knowing. On the way home from the beach, No. 2 rolls up his window and turns on the A/C like he owns the joint! The gall of that kid!! I laughed at myself for being so appalled. It’s minor. But shouldn’t he know not to touch it without asking? Then I remember that it’s my job to let him know about stuff like this. This actually happens to me from time to time. I have to be reminded that I am responsible for their lives, including life lessons of other human beings. How did this ever happen?
2. My kids can always surprise me. While on vacation, the beach super-club had their teen night. My 14-year-old niece was uber-excited. The only thing is, I didn’t really want her going by herself. So, the wife and I decide to let No. 2 go with her even though he’s 12 (the minimum age for the teen bash is 13). But then he let us know that he didn’t feel like he should go because he wasn’t old enough. WHAT? When I was 12 I would have been doing everything I could to sneak into the place! This kid gets the official ‘OK’ from mom and dad and says that he feels like he should wait until he’s more responsible? Wow.
Another surprising moment came on the way home when both No. 2 and No. 4 had their faces glued to screens playing videogames. Mostly because I was bored from the silence — yeah, a 12-year-old and a 5-year-old on a seven-hour trip and I was sick of the silence! I’m weird, I know. I told them to put down the games so we could play some old-school look-out-your-window car trip games and they gladly obliged! It freaked me out a little because I was ready for an argument. But instead we played some alphabet games, scavenger hunt, etc., and they totally dug it! Wow, again!
3. Next time I can save tons of money by vacationing at home. This trip was expensive. Probably more than we should have slugged on. But hey, you only live once, right? The kids have never seen the emerald waters of the gulf coast and we wanted them to be able to experience it. We get there and the weather is perfect. The water is immaculate. You can see your tiny toes in chest-deep water. Even the waves were a little bigger than usual due to some out-to-sea storms. Where did my kids want to hang out? Any parent already knows: The pool. Yep. Sugar-white sand, beautiful crystal clear water, temp in the mid to high 80s and the water was nice and warm. And my kids want to swim in the indoor pool. They even put up a fight when we forced them to play on the beach. And you’re damn right we forced them, at THAT price! Sheesh! Of course, when they got out there they had a blast finding shells, hermit crabs, etc. But next time? We’ll just check in to the Motel 6 down the street and let them splash in the pool. We can spend the money we save on beer… uhh, I mean responsible adult things.