- Today was a good day.
- Hope and I enjoyed a great day on the beach. A long time friend of mine who lives abroad is in town visiting her family; I happened to see a picture a few days ago and we were able to connect on the beach for a few hours.
- Then my sister came thru with the kiddos and I played with the little cuties until it was time to come inside.
- Hope jumped waves with her cousin and stepped out for dinner with her older cousin.
- We went to the candy store and to get slushies.
- It was as close to a perfect day as we could get.
- It’s barley 8pm and Hope got in the bed about an hour ago, and was asleep by 7:30.
- You know what that means? It means I’m practically alone!!!! I’m fixing myself a cocktail and heading to the balcony in my pjs to watch the dolphins at dusk. There was a huge pod out this morning and it was wonderful watching them!
- Tomorrow the hurricane remnants are supposed to hit the area. We might get some beach time in the morning, but it will likely be a low key day shopping and hanging out with family.
- I’m hoping the next couple of days are as amazing as today. Hope and I deserve it.
Tag Archives: Vacation Tales
Today marks the first day of my 5th pandemic staycation.
It’s downright depressing, especially with FB reminding me that 2 years ago I was in Rome, 3 years ago in Athens, years before that in Montreal. I miss traveling terribly. Oh the places we will go when this pandemic lets up.
Hope has finally come to an age where she’s a bit more fun to travel with. Yes, she still struggles with impulsiveness. Yes, we still have at least one episode of losing my ish and flinging myself on a bed with all dramatic pretense. Hope can still turn on the spoiled princess persona that she’s adopted occasionally when we are traveling. All that said, I love seeing the world through her eyes. I loved taking her to various places, seeing things, hoping some of all this good experiential learning takes hold.
More than anything right now, I wish we could get away. We could both use the change of scenery. I think it would do amazing things to lift our depression. Also, it would be nice to have someone bring me food via room service.
We will be visiting my parents later this week now that they and I am vaccinated. This will definitely be the highlight of my week. We haven’t seen my parents in person since July of 2020 when we scooted down for a day with them. I’m thinking we might actually make it a weekend thing and maybe take in a museum, get some take out, definitely order room service. It will have to do, and I *am* looking forward to it, but the way my wanderlust is set up…
I’m thinking about maybe booking a trip to the Caribbean this summer. I desperately need to get AWAY. I mean, already today, I’ve answered 3 work emails and had one zoom call. This doesn’t happen when I’m traveling.
The only one happy about the current state of affairs is Yappy–who whines if I go to the laundry room without him.
Anyhoo, I’m entertaining myself watching a completely nerdy show on Prime about the Illiad, while looking up some of these 2nd tier Greek gods on Wikipedia. I might actually have to crack open Homer again. Of course, this is also contributing to my need for travel, but for now, it will have to be enough.
Maybe Greece again next year. I have so much more exploring to do.
Today…Oy vey, why bother rehashing other than I managed to walk 7.5 miles today, so I feel no guilt about the chocolate I plan to consume tomorrow.
I am determined to get this trip back on track tomorrow if it kills me and/or everyone else. As I walked to the convention center earlier today after getting a text from Hope that really, really let me know just how self centered she is, I started thinking about all the things I wished she knew about me, my life and my life with her.
Then I started thinking that I’m sure my mom wishes I knew all the same things about her.
There’s so much about this life that is unknown. There’s so much that you have to live to just know–people can tell you but you can’t really know unless you have the life experience. Lots of adulting is like that. It feels like all of parenting is like that. And parenting a child from a tough place? Forget about it. You can explain it with formulas, diagrams and powerpoint presentations and you won’t even get close to understanding.
Not. Even. Close.
I really started thinking about the things I wish I knew from my mom and things I wish Hope knew about me. I wondered if any of the knowledge would really change anything or if it would just make me feel better–not that those two things have to be mutually exclusive.
Here are just a few things I wish Hope understood about me.
I am not Google. I’m not, really. I am wicked smart but I do not know everything. I am inquisitive by nature. I often will watch a show and look up something mentioned that interested me and then pause the show and spend the next two hours down an information rabbit hole gobbling up information about that tidbit. I know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff, but I also do not know a lot about everything. The reality is very few of Hope’s questions really, genuinely interest me. Very few of them trigger my need to look up something, and with her being 17, I am uninspired to look it up for her. I am not Google. There is an app for that.
I have real grown arse problems. No she doesn’t need to know that work can be challenging or that I wonder whether a new relationship has real potential. But I need her to know I’m human. I screw up; I make problems for myself that could be avoided sometimes. I have steamer trunk baggage that shapes how I view myself, how I view the world, how I navigate through it and how I struggle to parent. I wonder if I’ll have enough to retire or if my parents have taken care of their affairs so that it won’t burden my sisters and me when the time comes. I worry about my weight and whether I’ll breeze through menopause like my mother did or if I’ll be hell on wheels like apparently my grandmother was. Will my health continue to be ok despite a host of hereditary and genetics disasters that seem to loom over my head? I wonder when I”ll be able to afford getting a new fridge with private school tuition and who I’ll get to install the two new AC units I’ve ordered for the house. Will I die with student loans and oh yeah, how will this private school tuition thing really work out? Will I ever manage to train/treat Yappy out of his anxiety before he chews up all of my good shoes and purse straps?
I wish she knew I was human with tender feelings–parenting makes those feelings more tender, not less. I wish she knew that even though I’ve gone to therapy monthly and sometimes much more frequently since I was in college that I’m far from “ok.” I struggle; I have depression and anxiety too, and BOTH have gotten worse since I became a parent, and sometimes as much as I love her and as much as I want her to heal, I just want her to hush so I can have a moment to breathe. The highs are high, as we’ve seen recently, but the lows are also hella low.
That I have impostor syndrome like a mug. I wish she knew that I have way more confidence dealing with school folks, counselors, administrators, doctors than I do parenting her. Parenting her is by far the hardest job I have, and it is mostly thankless. I remember when she was first placed with me, during the rough transition period a doctor suggested that she had RAD. I didn’t accept that, refused to in fact. She’s definitely not RAD, but there’s no question that we have attachment issues that I struggle to acknowledge. All is certainly not golden around these parts. We’ve had a good stretch of late, but the reality is that it’s a struggle.
So I fake/wing it. I think lots of parents of all kinds of kids do this. We just wing it and pray that we don’t eff up our kids up at all or worse than they came to us. I wish she could have a peep behind my parenting veil to get an idea of what I see and experience. It’s funny, as I write that, I know it wouldn’t make a difference for us. Hope has greater empathy for dogs whose collars she believes are too tight than for other humans. I wish seeing me in all my messy realness would make a difference, but this isn’t a neurotypical, normal household with regular run of the mill drama. That expectation is just not even realistic at this point. Still, I wish she could see and I wish she could grasp it.
I heard you, but I’m just ignoring you in hopes that this problem will go away or that you will solve it on your own. Yeah, I said it. I remember asking my parents some ridiculous things. I also remember them not answering me sometimes. I don’t answer Hope sometimes. Yes, it’s purposeful. Yes, I want you to stop. Why? Because it’s annoying; I’m tired, and I’m really in search of quiet. Also, I can’t or don’t want to solve your problem. I’m tapped out, done, finito. Go try to solve it yourself. Sometimes parents are petty and annoyed with dumb kid ish. #facts
I love you, but I don’t like you very much sometimes. This doesn’t affect my commitment to you. It’s just a recognition that sometimes kids (little, middle and grown) can be jerks. When you’re jerky I don’t like it. I don’t really want to be around it. There’s a difference between the trauma and anxiety stuff and jerkiness. Sure sometimes it can overlap, but generally they are distinct. When you use the jerkiness to manipulate based on the trauma and anxiety, it is infuriating and I feel stuck. I’m a contrarian by nature, so I also just rebel against the jerkiness. It makes it hard for me work through these behaviors. I hate them, but I don’t hate you. But I really wish you would stop being a jerk; it’s getting in the way of a lot of your healing and my parenting. Don’t be a jerk.
I’m sure there are countless other things I wish Hope knew and that she will learn about me. Right now, I’m just trying to make it through. I’m committed to getting some rest tonight and to continue working to get us back on track tomorrow.
Today I struggled. And by struggle I mean…wanted to strangle Grammy and Hope at different times and for different reasons.
I love traveling with my mom. It’s easy. She’s easy going, we love on each other and it’s just epic. We sometimes even cry together because the time together is so special. This trip has had all that but Hope is with us and that’s changed our dynamic. Hope is an attention hog, and I tend to dote on my mom when we travel. I’ve tried to mete out the doting, but I rarely get dedicated time with Grammy so I’m sure she’s winning the doting war.
Then, despite showing epic growth this summer and in the last few weeks, in the matter of a few short days Hope has regressed into some of her worst behaviors. She’s annoying with a bit of a smart mouth.
Emotionally demanding, and then, as we arrived in Switzerland, again had to go through the absurd routine of being *shocked* that the country has insects. Why didn’t I warn her?
Yeah, she has a phobia. Yes, I know that there’s components of phobias that are completely unrelated to reason, but Hope has turned the ancillary showmanship around her bug phobia into a high artform.
In the last couple of days her behavior has been quietly grating on my nerves…and I’m not the only one.
So by the time we arrived at the airport today, I’d survived Grammy’s worry that the car service wouldn’t pick us up at the hotel and Hope’s lollygagging in getting ready because she was up until the wee hours watching Kdramas in the dark. By the time we got through security and got Hope something to eat and made her do some of her required school reading, my shoulders were finally starting to relax. Grammy starts talking about how different Hope is from my sisters and me, and I get defensive. This is really the first time she’s seen Hope’s true colors up close and personal. Stuff that I understand now, stuff that I let go, stuff that I think is a parking lot problem when I only die on mountain style problems, just baffles Grammy. I get it, but I also know how to parent this kid (even when I want to strangle her), and I can’t parent her the way I was parented. It’s not better or worse, just radically different.
I briefly raised my voice, and then I lost my four day fight to hold back tears. I didn’t sob, but I did cry. Grammy pulled back and said she got it. I know she doesn’t totally get it, but I appreciated that she does on an intellectual level at least.
Then I felt like a failure for not managing to keep it together and disrupting our trip with this exchange. I ended up apologizing and trying to make it right later.
I get us to our AirBnB. It’s a charming apartment. It’s huge, everyone has their own space (precisely why I chose it). I find us food nearby. I manage Hope’s latest bug phobia drama and hand her a couple of Ativan. I video chat my dad and my sister. During my call with my sister, Hope declares that she’s not having a good time, and she wants to go home. Stunned, I abruptly end the call and began sobbing.
I’m exhausted, the airport meltdown took something out of me and then I was wedged into a seat with a dude who wafted funk with every move. (Bless the French and their apparent hatred for quality deodorants.) Just yesterday we went and saw all the stuff in the Apesh&t video at the Louvre, and it was epic. Today, in typical 13 year old in a 17 year old chronological body, Hope declared her teen angst misery, and I, completely depleted and fed up, skidded into the spin and claimed the dramatic southern woman wailing part in the tableau.
Seriously, the trip of a lifetime and misery abounds. Can’t I just get 10 days drama free? Please?
I adore Hope. There is little I won’t do for her, but don’t get it twisted, parenting her is hard. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s downright withering.
And sometimes on days like today, after having given Grammy a lecture on the need to have different kinds of expectations for my daughter, I heap on a serving of hypocrite to my parenting dish because for the life of me, I have no idea why I would think that Hope would really love/appreciate a trip to France and Switzerland. She barely appreciates when I pick up a nail polish that I think she will like or make sure that her special Korean ramen is in the house.
It’s not that she’s not thankful for some stuff, it’s just like…some of the things are so far beyond that she’s not sure how to handle them, so she doesn’t handle them well. It’s like she can’t process it in her operating system She’s not handling this trip well, which means we’re not handling this trip well. And I wish she would step up, because I know she can but just won’t, so I blame myself because I know what her default setting is: chaos. When in doubt, cause chaos, because for her, that’s something she understands.
After I got myself together, I told her that I am sorry that she is not having a good time. I do not regret bringing her, but I got the message that this isn’t her thing so I will be sure to extend an invite, but not assume she’s interested in going on these kinds of trips in the future.
I had hoped that after our Grecian adventure earlier this year that she would have got the travel bug, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. That’s ok. It’s not for everyone. I know that she will have these memories–however she frames them–and I’m glad for it.
As for me, I’m heading to my conference tomorrow and I’m looking forward to interacting with non-relatives for a few hours. I’m looking forward to just getting into a zone where I know I do good work, where I can learn, where I can just feel like I am seen and perceived as successful.
Quiet as kept, I’m looking forward to seeing the city, but I will also look forward to going home, seeing and cuddling Yappy, settling into my empty nest routine and going out with my new bae.
I’ve got 5 days though to get through without killing anyone. Prayers, if you’re into that kind of thing.
I so remember fondly the days when I could throw some clothes in a bag, grab my passport and hit the airport for a vacation abroad that I threw together a couple of weeks before.
Those were the days.
Today, I grasp at shreds of vacation dreams.
Now I take trips instead of vacations, and I feel all kinds of ways about that.
On the one hand, I love the idea of vacationing with Hope, and even taking Yappy along. I dream about having the opportunity to have fun with her, to show her lots of amazing sites in the country and world.
On the other hand, I just miss the days of old.
This year, I rented a small condo on the beach in Virginia. Substantially less expensive and much closer to family than last year’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Oh and it was a fraction of the cost of our trip last year, which is good since the first payment on Hope’s braces is due next week. And finally, Yappy was welcome to tag along on this journey to the beach, where he would see sand for the very first time.
Since I traded in the Mini Cooper last winter, we would be traveling a lot more comfortably and with nothing strapped to the roof of the car.
I went into the trip feeling guardedly optimistic about all the precautions I had taken to try to make sure that it would be fun time for us all.
And then we headed out.
We traveled nearly all the way to the house when I caught a flat tire. And when I say “all the way” I mean, we were 2.4 miles away from the rental.
When we finally get there, the landlord had not obtained a mini-box for the TV so the cable didn’t work. The landlord also didn’t respond to my 3 phone calls and 2 texts about the WiFi password. And that was day 1.
Day 2, I managed to get in some exercise before I headed out with Hope to go buy a new tire. Of course Wallyworld did not carry my tire size, so then we had to hit a service station where the only tire the right size was the most expensive tire that was about $200. #HappyVacation Hope complained about the wait, pissed off the service station staff because I couldn’t censor her anti-Trump tirade because her ability to self-censor at critical times, like in mixed company, is non-existent. It also underscores her inability to read social reactions. By the time we bought groceries and hit the Starbucks my nerves were shot. When the barista messed up my drink I started to cry. ETA: How do you mess up a venti iced coffee with sugarfree vanilla syrup???
While sobbing on the way back to the car, I began to wonder why I keep trying to take these vacation/trips at all.
I hit another coffee shop, got my fix, got some Yappy snuggles and hit the beach. Managed to burn my feet on the sand. They are still sore and red. Oh and as soon as we got the umbrellas up and I got settled, Hope announced she was hungry and wanted to go inside, but not by herself, to get something to eat.
I said no, as I was still wiping the sweat from my brow from dragging everything to the beach and getting us set up.
Then there was the spider sighting at 9pm that spun night 2 out of control. We’ve been doing so much better with the bug thing so I was able to be a bit more patient and consoling about it.
I relaxed on the couch most of today with Yappy. It was just so hot, that there was little reason to go out. Hope pulled up a chair because I never located the spider, which meant the comfy furniture was contaminated.
After a few hours out and an about, we returned back where she quickly spotted a moth and the freakout started all over again. I killed it, but that hasn’t abated the evening meltdown.
Tomorrow afternoon we head home, and I’m left wondering will we ever have a truly, truly enjoyable time? Should I just plan staycations from now on? Should I just rent a bug free, hermetic bubble? Is there a happy medium?
Sure there were moments of some contentment, but they were fleeting and the crush of anxiety, phobias, and PTSD always seems to outweigh those few moments of relaxation.
Yeah, this was definitely a trip. It’s always a reminder of the hard place my kiddo survived. It’s just hard to enjoy a good life. I hope that she continues to heal and is able to just enjoy the world around her.
Despite all of the drama of this trip, I am optimistic for her healing. She is much more mature than she was last year. The ability to manage the bug phobia is improved. The drive and desire to heal is such much more than it used to be.
There is hope for Hope. I believe that.
But for now, vacations are still trips for us. Yappy seems to have had a blast though. He traveled well, killed bugs and has snoozed like I thought I would while on vacation. I am jealous.
Early on in my “vacation” someone posted a HuffPost article on my personal FB timeline that described the difference between a vacation and a trip when kids are involved.
I didn’t know. Seriously, I didn’t know that I hadn’t been taking vacations for the last 18 months. I had no idea that Hope and I were taking “trips.”
Oh, you bet your bottom, I know now, though.
So, picture it, two Fridays ago, I loaded up the Mini Cooper with a roof bag and piled Hope, Sister K and myself into car for a 9.5 hour drive to Boston–our first stop since I had 3 days of work to do there.
You know, it actually wasn’t awful. We popped in an audiobook (Mitch Album’s The First Phone Call From Heaven), snarfed some fast food and took a couple of potty breaks before rolling up to our hotel at 11pm.
As if rolling to Boston with ish pilled on the top of my clown car like the Beverly Hillbillies wasn’t an indication that we were on a trip, real trip indicators were totally about to jump off.
We stayed in a super swank room–it was LAID! However, my office only booked a king room, so I ordered up a rollaway bed for Hope.
My girl was saltier than the Dead Sea that she would be relegated to the rollaway. Sister K and I were like:
You betta go on and lay yo arse on that dang cot and go to sleep, girl.
Day 1 – Boston
I was tied up in 12 hours of meetings and presentations. After I was done we hit up a restaurant for dinner.
Hope: I woud like the Bourbonzola Burger please.
Bourbonzola Burger appears.
Hope: No one told me gorgonzola cheese was on the burger?
No, really, why bother with reading the details on the menu. It’s sent back and replaced by something more “suitable.”
Day 2 – Boston
I had a modest 10 hour day of work so we hit up the Minions movie that evening. Nope, no popcorn, we’re going for dinner afterwards.
At a swank Italian dinner:
Hope: I’ll have the spinach and cheese ravioli please.
Spinach and cheese ravioli appears.
Hope: UGHHHHHH. You know I don’t like that much cheese; I can’t eat this.
I can actually feel her willing me to share my proscuitto and fig flatbread pizza. I take a deliberate, exaggerated bite out of all 8 pieces and lick the ham too.
Not today, Miss, I am NOT sharing ish today. #allthewaypetty
Then there was another huffy silent treatment prompted by her continued stay on the rollaway. #girlbye
Day 3 – Boston to Martha’s Vineyard
Hope: This BBQ sandwich is so huge. I can barely pick it up; I probably can’t eat it all. Do y’all want to taste it?
(Note: Don’t ever ask me or my sisters to have a bite of something that looks super tasty and expect to us to take itty bitty portions. Hope learned that day.)
Sandwich comes to the front seat.
Half of the sandwich returns to the back seat.
Hope chose to not eat the rest of the sandwich due to a wretched case of the hissies.
By the time we got to the Vineyard and found that the keys and house info were not left in the realtors box for us, the driving, fatigue and trip-inspired annoyance resulted in me pulling off the road into the hospital parking lot and sobbing.
It got straightened out, and we had the pleasure of hearing Hope complain about this creepy house and the triggering of her bug phobia, thanks to a few creepy crawlies trolling the house at 11pm.
Just before we turned in, she declared —DECLARED—that I needed to only have her stay in hotels because she did not like this house situation and that’s what she prefers and I need to make her happy.
Let’s just say I got her together quick and let her know that my fantasy is an actual vacation without her and that it could be arranged.
Day 1 – MV
Rainy, complaining, buggy, whiny.
I ended up showing Hope what a grown folks’ hissy fit really looks like. It was epic. It was real. I might as well had been Kanye.
The rest of the trip actually improved considerably. Hope and I had a great time, and she already wants to go back, of course, that has more to do with the little cutie at the ice cream shop, but still. We settled into a nice routine; she even did chores in the rental. It was a good trip after all.
But yeah, it was definitely a trip and not a vacation!