Vacation from vacation
By Lisa Smartt
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 8:01 pm
There are two kinds of vacations. Vacation No. 1 is the kind our friends in Texas take every year. They find a hotel on the beach or some beautiful resort area and sleep late every morning and eat out every meal. The most strenuous thing they do is glance at the water. At the end of the week, they’re happy as clams because they’ve eaten a lot and slept a lot. This is how they define “vacation.”
I wasn’t raised with this kind of vacation. My parents didn’t believe in the “sleeping late and eating out every meal” vacation. Oh no. On our vacations, we rose early, ate Raisin Bran™ in the motel room, and read EVERY historical marker on the side of the roads until we reached our destination. Yep! My parents practiced the Vacation No. 2 philosophy: Why rest and relax when you can LEARN something? I can tell you about presidents, famous inventors, Civil War battles, poets and the migration pattern of the Monarch butterfly. And I learned it all on “vacation,” of course. I mean, why just sun yourself on the beach when you can get your picture taken with the Liberty Bell, right?
A funny thing happened when my husband and I became parents. You guessed it. We tend to say, “Hey! There’s a marker up there that tells about the time that Washington crossed the Delaware. Who would like to read it aloud? Let’s pull over!” I know. I’ve become my parents. Philip and I are now proud proponents of the Vacation No. 2 philosophy.
We just returned from a two-week trip to the Northeast. We saw the Liberty Bell, the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, the USS Constitution in Boston Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, a Broadway play, two wild black bears in the wilderness area of New Hampshire, seals and porpoises in Maine and Niagara Falls, Canada. Amazing and fun and educational. Three thousand, five hundred car miles. Bus tours. Boat tours. Museums. Boys arguing in the backseat. Peanut butter sandwiches. Lobster dinners on the coast of Maine. We did it all. At one point in Boston, we went to a laundromat late at night. While sitting in a yellow broken plastic chair, I wondered what it would be like to be sleeping late at a beach resort. For just a moment, I considered trading in our wake up calls, peanut butter jar and laundry quarters for that peaceful beach chair on a deserted island. Yes, we considered floating over to Vacation Philosophy No. 1. But we persevered. We’re glad we saw the things we saw and did the things we did.
Only one little problem. We’re exhausted. Completely and totally exhausted. We realize now that when our parents were our age, they were grandparenting, not toting children through the Big Apple. Now that we’re home, Phil and I need a “vacation from our vacation.” And we’ve found the perfect spot. There’s a little country place outside Dresden. Low stress. No noise. Pinto beans cookin’ in the crock pot. A few nights of sittin’ on the front porch and I think we’ll be right back to normal. Oh, and if you’re preparing for a vacation, I’ve got one word of advice. Even if you want to learn more about the presidents or Monarch butterflies or the Civil War, sleep in now and then. Those historical markers on the side of the road will still be there.
For more information about Lisa Smartt, visit her website lisasmartt.com.
Published in The Messenger 7.7.10