family fun · Keepin' it real · Kids · waxing philosophical · whine and cheese

Day 181: The summer break of our discontent

You know how they say that planning a vacation is more enjoyable than actually taking that vacation? They’re right. Although that could just be because this vacation kind of sucks.

There. I said it.

True, we’ve had a couple of great day trips. And there was a day, maybe a day and a half, where the weather was warm and swimming was fun. But it feels like a lot of our time here is spent moping around the place doing nothing. This is not how I pictured a month at the cottage.

I was probably operating on the assumption that the kids would want to play in the sand at the water’s edge, that the water would be a comfortable temperature for swimming, and that we’d spend the days on the dock, reading our books in the sun. I imagined giving my kids a few small lessons on paddling technique and then exploring the shoreline. I certainly didn’t expect how windy it would be here; and Mr. December and I both seem to have forgotten that “high of 23” doesn’t mean it’s 23 degrees all day long, but that it will hit 23 degrees sometime between 1 and 2 p.m., and otherwise it’ll be more like 17.

I’m trying to be phlegmatic about the whole thing: some days are good, others are less so. I often tell the kids that boredom is good for them: maybe it will be. I’m trying to figure out things to do that will make our time up here feel worthwhile. But Mr. December goes back to work (online, remotely) tomorrow and his one week of vacation has been rife with whining, complaining, and sneezing (did I mention that I forgot to ask the owners whether their cottage was pet-free? It wasn’t, three of us have allergies, and I spent much of last week vacuuming everything I could.) I feel vaguely guilty about that.

Mr. December has always been keener than I on the idea of planning and scheduling our free time. It’s something I generally do under duress — it does not come naturally to me to make a timetable of how we’re spending every hour of our weekend, and yet I made the effort to do it every week until COVID hit. Let me be clearer: planning our free time goes against my grain and rubs me entirely the wrong way… and yet I try to do it.

The notion that we couldn’t manage to entertain ourselves at a house on a lake, with a dock and watercraft and a fire pit, seemed absurd to me two weeks ago. Now I know better. R has started asking to go home. We’ve said no, because Rosh Hashana is next weekend and we want the kids to be with us. But every time she asks I’m tempted to say, “Only if I can go too.” If it weren’t for the fact that the rest of our stay here is non-refundable, I’d probably start packing up to leave.

Of course, it might be sunny and bright tomorrow and I’ll be back to rhapsodizing about the magic of getting kids out in nature. We’ll just have to wait and see.

2 thoughts on “Day 181: The summer break of our discontent

  1. Perspective is important.
    Coming from fire and smoke (TERRIBLE PURPLE BLACK AIR) (air quality ratings over 400 sometimes over 500) Cool and wet sounds absolutely delightful. You COULD put on rain gear or what ever and simply go outside. Amazing idea. I am picturing doing that. To simply go outside and take a deep breath and not choke and wonder if/when lung cancer will part of your family life even though you never smoked/vaped any substances.

    I really do hope your weather clears for your whole family!!!!! That would be super wonderful for you and all your readers who are mentally on vacation with you!

    Getting ready for incoming hurricanes and drenchos in other parts of the country, and severe snow, hurricanes, tornados, typhoons…… I am reminding myself of perspective too as I need to hold reality. Problems where I am are ugly, but there are worse problems many are facing.

    AND, I am absolutely sympathetic with your vacation not being what you had hoped and dreamt. I am not intending to say you are really in paradise; you are NOT having the experienceyou hoped to have. That somewhere else someone else has different problems does not lessen the problems in front of us. And that in decades to come this will be a remembered story doesn’t help at all in the present moment.

    Celebrating you again for holding me in reality and giving me a lift that is much needed where I am. I absolutely AM remembering the non-joy of the whinny child…. times 4. Also the feelings that something I have been excited about did not match reality.

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING. You make such a difference in my holding on and keeping going.

    1. Rose, you’re absolutely right about perspective. I’m so sorry the air around you is awful right now — that sounds really icky and frustrating. I really hope it clears up soon. Wishing you lots of rain.

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