Vacation fantasy vs. reality
Every year, our family takes vacation in a two-week lump sum at the end of summer. And every year, I build up a fantasy that it will be a combination of ultimate relaxation and effortless productivity—the end all, be all, of events.
Behold vacation! Where everything I have ever wanted happens simultaneously: outdoor adventure, travel, family fun, marital bonding, home improvement, self-enhancement and world peace. By the time vacation arrives, I've mostly forgotten I am naught but a daydreaming dope with two small children.
Vacation Fantasy: The family will frolic into the wilderness to enjoy the peaceful beauty of nature.
Vacation Reality: We ran ourselves ragged wrangling a maniacal toddler while being blasted by the obnoxious, outrageously loud music of the jerks in the next campsite.
Vacation Fantasy: My husband and I will spend eternity alone together, sharing our dreams and bodies.
Vacation Reality: The children fell asleep in the car on the way to our cabin and we sat sweating on the front porch playing Scrabble over a beer while they slept in the running, air-conditioned car.
Vacation Fantasy: We will all get away to enjoy the rented luxury of a tastefully furnished cabin.
Vacation Reality: The proprietors' tasteful furnishings consisted of low-lying shelves adorned with baby-magnet breakables and cinnamon oil drenched pinecones, hidden like Easter eggs I had to use my gag reflex to locate.
Vacation Fantasy: Our easy going offspring will effortlessly adapt to foreign lodgings.
Vacation Reality: We became the proud parents of an eighteen-month-old pinball, who hurled herself with increasing force at everything in her path the later it got and who wouldn't sleep unless I went to bed with her so she could steamroll me all night.
Vacation Fantasy: Back at home, fresh mulch will spread itself over the entire garden.
Vacation Reality: I had eight yards of mushroom compost delivered to the driveway where it will likely occupy the needed parking space until Christmas.
Vacation Fantasy: The back of the house will get painted. (The front side was painted in the spring . . . of last year.)
Vacation Reality: It got hosed down.
Vacation Fantasy: By merely blinking, brilliantly composed essays will amass in surplus.
Vacation Reality: I exhausted myself to beat two writing deadlines, then left seventy-two tabs open on my computer for a week, in exchange for peeing in the woods.
Vacation Fantasy: I will run on the beach, practice yoga alongside the river and meditate in the forest.
Vacation Reality: I broke my record for most days in a row without a shower and exercised zero times.
I don't like to admit it, but I was sincerely surprised when the real vacation didn't come close to my fantasy. At this point in mothering I should know my best chance at having a truly relaxing and productive experience is on random solo trips to the grocery store or dentist.
Fantasizing a painless vacation is like opting for the epidural—with it, I am able to face the ring of campfire.
Carisa Miller is a sarcasm wielding, cherub lugging, cheese devouring nut job writer. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her astonishingly patient husband, two fireball daughters, and an ill-tempered cat. Her haphazard adventures in baby raising, gardening, crafting, cooking and everything else are strewn across her website, Do You Read Me?, and on Twitter, Facebook & Pinterest, where serious undertones and actual information may occasionally appear amid humorous one-liners and run-on sentences.