Well, this is it, the Frauenheim Dankes are hitting the road. With an eye to our daughter’s eminent departure for college, we have planned the VERY LAST ROAD TRIP WE WILL EVER TAKE, ALL TOGETHER.
Two full weeks of togetherness; riding in the car together, eating together, staying in tiny hotel rooms together, spending every single minute together…. The hope is that this will be our final hurrah and cement a lifetime of happy memories.Yup. It will either be that or the kids will drive us to the brink of madness and make the prospect of losing one to college sound like maybe the best idea ever.
The kids are not thrilled. To them it sounds like torture. Especially since the best their Dad and I can offer is that we get to swim in all the Great Lakes! Whoopee! Super fun, right guys?
“You know, we’ll driiiiiive for a while,” we say cheerily,” and then we’ll swim, swim, SWIM!” Both of us pantomiming little doggy paddle motions and smiling from ear to ear just to demonstrate how very fun it will be. It doesn’t help their mood at all when their dour expressions cause us to burst into laughter and then chant, “Swim, swim, SWIM!” ever more maniacally to each other, because, hello, disgruntled children are hilarious.
In truth, they have reason to be skeptical. Frauenheim Danke vacations are often rife with disaster. Like the year we spent Thanksgiving in a Motel 6 because our minivan broke down. Or the year we based our summer vacation around a trip to the cranberry bogs. Do you know what happens in a cranberry bog in summer? Nothing. Seriously, not a thing. I squandered precious vacation time to drag my kids to gaze at an empty field. They still totally give me shit about that.
Then there was the day in Ethiopia that we drove hours and hours in pouring rain to see these very special and beautiful lakes only to find the road we had chosen was impassable. Back we went to the beginning and back out again, on a different route. We scaled a muddy mountain trail surrounded by locals who were doing their very best to keep these dumb Americans, who clearly have the common sense of a cabbage, from slipping off the side of the trail and cracking their dumb American heads. When we got to the summit, lo and behold, the fog had rolled in, obscuring the entire valley. Our poor guide was clearly distraught, but we all burst into laughter. How to explain to him that, truly, this was more or less what we would’ve expected from any outing involving our family?
As a result, we’re pretty darn good at forging ahead when things go wrong, which is lucky for us, since this vacation is starting out under a definite pall. Last week, my sweet, accomplished mother-in-law passed away suddenly. I think Hubby is just now getting over the shock of it. But like I said, we’re good at forging ahead and so maybe this will be the vacation when we are a little subdued and remember to hug and kiss on Dad an awful lot. That’d be a good memory, right? Better than a cranberry bog in summer, anyway, but then again, most things are.