Friday, February 4, 2011

The last summer vacation

Brendan, Brian and me at Laurel Falls in TN

Call me crazy: amid ice, snow, and some of the coldest temperatures North Texas has seen in 15 years, I am thinking about summer vacation. Just humor me for a minute.

Actually, we’ve been scheming about taking a summer vacation for about a month now. It’s possible this could be our last summer trip together as a baby-free family of three (you never know what could happen in a year) so it’s got to be a good one.

My husband Brian is gunning for Disney World. Sadly, my stepson Brendan is nearing an age when any day now he’ll wake up shunning animated movies and declaring himself way too cool for Mickey Mouse themed entertainment.  (He’ll be 11 in May.) It would be nice to beat tween ‘tude to the punch and take him to the Magic Kingdom while it’s still magical.

And then I imagine what this vacation would look like for my husband and me: waiting long lines, weaving through crowds, eating cheap, awful food, spending tons of money on nothing in particular -- sort of like the Six Flags experience on steroids. I know it’s supposed to be The Happiest Place On Earth, and other adults have assured me I’d have just as much fun as Brendan, but somehow I cynically picture it being one of those great for kid, not so great for Mom situations

So what am I gunning for? I’d rather go someplace full of natural beauty, or museums, or historical significance. Someplace where I can marvel, my husband can take photos, and my stepson can learn a thing or two and return more knowledgeable than when he left. Last year we stayed with two of my best friends and their families in a cabin near Gatlinburg, TN, which was the ideal combination of nature, bumper cars, and Native American history. I’m not sure if we can top that.

Tired of turning this over and over in my head, I decided to go straight to the source over dinner one evening. “Brendan, if you could take a trip anywhere in the whole wide world, where would you want to go?” I asked. Who knows, maybe he’d say Mexico…or Greece…or someplace really cool I hadn’t even thought of! Then Brian would have indisputable evidence that we should consider other places. Or maybe I could use this opportunity to sell Brendan on some other great location.

Brendan thought for a moment before answering: “Disney World.”

“So you don’t think you’re too old for it now?” Brian asked. It was his turn to collect evidence for me.

“No way!” he said. Something about the way he said it felt bittersweet. Increasingly I catch glimpses of a future teenage Brendan here and there – his face is becoming so angular under his Harry-Potter-like mess of hair and his limbs are stretching longer to fit the mold of an awkward and gangly adolescent. He’s come so far from the cherub cheeked five-year-old I first met. But mention Disney World and his eyes light up with the same childlike excitement from years past. The juxtaposition of this got to me.

And then, without realizing it, he sold me on a location. Mickey Mouse, here we come.

How did you pick the perfect vacation for your family?

No comments:

Post a Comment