I love history and art, and I really love museums. I love tourist attractions that have lots of little informational placards, and I like to read each one. Slowly. I also love old stuff. Any kind of old stuff, but especially old stuff that tells a story. This has earned me the reputation of being a bit of a nerd with my family. Boring might be the word my children mouth behind my back, but I’ll own up to nerdy.
My husband shares some of these loves, but mostly he indulges me. When we travel, it’s all museums and historical sites all the time, preferably on foot and in weather conditions guaranteed to make everyone miserable. My children took a three hour guided tour of the Vatican before the age of ten–twice. I can assure you they do not thank me for this. My son still calls it the worst experience of his life, and considering we lost him for a good half-hour in Disneyland Paris, that’s quite a statement.
For years, they begged us for a real vacation. They use words like “relaxing” and “fun” to describe their ideal get-away. They also had the nerve to request three meals a day, a policy my husband largely ignores when traveling. We still haven’t figured out why, but we think he believes it adds to the excitement of walking for hours through an art museum if he “keeps us hungry”. I keep this policy on my list of items to discuss when my husband threatens me with marriage counseling.
This year, we decided to indulge the kids, and we took them to Turks and Caicos for a relaxing, fun, food-filled break. In the first two hours, I had to swim into the ocean with my sunnies and my hat on to save my youngest from drowning, and the oldest had to be rescued at sea by a resort employee manning a powerboat. I have misgivings as to whether or not my children understand the meaning of relaxing, and judging from the above, their idea of fun is dubious at best.
After a generous helping of Fruit Loops and Chips Ahoy Cookies for the kids and a few glasses of prosecco for me, we finally got into a more mellow groove. I indulged my inner nerd by reading a lovely stack of books and taking photos of the sunset on repeat, my husband fed us (mostly) three meals a day, and the kids enjoyed five days without an informational placard in sight.
When we arrived, I asked my son to please take some photos of me at some point on the vacation, so we have proof I was there. As the official family photographer, I usually stand behind the lens. On the ride home, as I scrolled through my phone, I found ten or so shots of me. Almost entirely headless. There’s nothing like a close up of one’s abdominal area in a bikini at forty to make one reconsider well, everything.
I guess he hasn’t forgotten about that parenting faux pas in Disney after all.
Where do you like to go on family vacations? What memories stick with you? And, more importantly, have you ever lost a kid there?!
*Follow along on our occasional travels and everyday life-keeping over on instagram. It’s my favorite place on the internet. You’ll find me there a few times a day, much to the mortification and chagrin of my teenagers.