Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Week Before: Parent vs. Kid

To my son Tommy,

Anticipation and preparation are funny things. It has been a long time since I have felt that butterflies-in-the-stomach-I-can't-wait-one-minute-longer-or-I-just-might-die type of anticipation for just about anything. I tell myself that unlike a five year old who has nothing to prep for with regards to vacations, I do not have the luxury of getting all giddy. I tell myself, that as a grown up, I now live completely in the moment and thus the exhilaration of upcoming events eludes me and that is okay because I also avoid the anxious worry that comes with living in the future. I lie to myself often and I do it well. Truth is I have no idea why I am not completely excited about the upcoming vacation, but I figure I would highlight some of the differences in our points of view.

  • "Four more sleeps till vacation, Daddy!" You have had quite the countdown going since about sixteen "sleeps". Every time you say this, I think "Holy crap! Four more days to button up everything at work and get ready for this vacation!" and your mom thinks "Holy crap! Four more days to finish packing and do everything that needs to be done for this vacation.
  • "When we get down there we will go in the ocean, and on the boardwalk, and on the rides, and on the..." When you see the vacation, you see adventure and fun. When I see a vacation, I look forward it with the same regard as going to sleep every night. No one gets excited about going to bed (unless of course they are a five year old counting down sleeps before vacation). I see it more as sweet release from the agony of the working man. That means the vacation is welcomed and looked forward to, but on a completely different plane of existence than your youthful eagerness. I am not saying vacations from an adult point of view are on par with the long waited for sweet release of death, but one could draw some similarities there.
  • "Tommy, you can fill this one bag with toys you want to take on vacation." That was/is your assignment from your mom. She on the other hand has to fill bin after bin, suitcase after suitcase, with just about anything and everything fathomable. She does so with little to no help from her husband who is busy working trying to make sure he can actually limit the amount of time he is working on vacation.
Your mother and I are sworn to make preparing for a vacation less stressful and as carefree as possible. We set rules and guidelines and inundate ourselves with phrases and reassurances. "We leave when we leave" and "If we forget something, it isn't like we are going to another country" are just a couple examples of things that keep us sane during the week before and during the trip down. But even with our mindset, there is no denying things can be stressful. Your mom took last years list and evidently reworked it into a more detailed and complete list. I told her that we would have to have her make a guest post with the new list. No matter how difficult vacationing can be for us parents, seeing your youthful enthusiasm, and re-living our youth vicariously through you, makes all the work and all the stress well worth it.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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