Today, as the Ascension bank holiday weekend draws near a rain-soaked end in France, I would like to share a view on holidays/vacations from over the Atlantic.
As part of our series of joint posts, Struggling Dad and I explore the roles these special times away from the daily routine played in our defunct relationships.
My own take on “holidays/vacations” can be found here.
From Struggling Dad, who is juggling three teenage daughters, a job and a home, since his wife left him last month: Over the years, more than 20 of them, there have been many family vacations. Most of them have nice memories because none were horrible and none had spectacular disasters.
When Amélie and Brigitte were small, we visited the island of Jersey, off the coast of France, a number of times. We toured Devon and Cornwall in England.
After Charlotte was born and was old enough to remember vacations, we had a number of fun family vacations. Before finalizing the decision to move from Bern, Switzerland, to north Virginia, near Washington, D.C., we had a trip that combined a week in Washington with a week in Orlando, Florida. At an auction for the school, we laid down a very small sum of money for a week’s vacation at a timeshare resort in Las Vegas (there’s no “Vegas baby!” when it’s a family vacation, by the way) that included some time in Los Angeles, especially around Beverly Hills, Hollywood, and Santa Monica.
The family vacation that tops the list is *not* the summer 2009 vacation to Los Angeles where we rented a house overlooking Studio City (the north rather than south side of the Hollywood hills). That vacation included a tour of the fabulous Warner Brothers film studio, a day at the tourist-infested Universal Studios, side trips to San Diego and Santa Barbara, and still isn’t top of the list.
It is also *not* the vacation to Minneapolis that included some time at one of the largest shopping malls in America (and a theme park in the center of the mall).
The family vacation that tops the list is the extra-long weekend break to a water park in Wisconsin.
The locale wasn’t special, the accommodations were nice but nowhere as nice as the hotel rooms in Toronto or Switzerland. It was early spring and reasonably cold. We had to stop over in Detroit for hours going in each direction. It included a visit to Walmart. At first glance, it doesn’t stand out.
That vacation was special because we had a wonderful time as a family. No-one bickered or fought. Little Charlotte was old enough not to no longer be the baby of the family, but ‘one of the kids’. It was the first time we got to vacation as a family unit and do lots of different things together as a family. We spent time in different water parks (that place is immense!), we did a timed team puzzle game called Wizard Quest and won some prize. We played mini-golf. We ate out. We shopped. We made meals in the lodge together. We did everything together.
We had such a nice time, it makes me even more disappointed that the family unit has been broken up. One of my daughters refers to her mom using her first name now. Another is rude to her when they’re on the phone. These are definitely the Chinese definition of ‘interesting times’ and I hope that I can enjoy some more tranquil even boring times sooner rather than later.