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 would 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 would 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 would 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 pine cones, hidden like Easter eggs I had to use my gag reflex to locate.
Vacation Fantasy: Our easy-going offspring would effortlessly adapt to foreign lodgings.
Vacation Reality: We became the proud parents of an 18-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 would 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 side of the house would 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 would amass in surplus.
Vacation Reality: I exhausted myself to beat two writing deadlines, then left 72 tabs open on my computer for a week, in exchange for peeing in the woods.
Vacation Fantasy: I would 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 must be an idiot, because 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.
That won’t stop me from fantasizing about a painless vacation. It’s like opting for the epidural. With it, I am prepared to face the ring of campfire.
— Carisa Miller
Carisa Miller is a sarcasm-wielding, cherub-lugging, cheese-devouring, nut-job writer. Writing what she describes as human interest humor, she meaningfully fills her essays with one-liners and, on occasion, intentionally fills them with meaning. She has been featured on such sites as In The Powder Room, Scary Mommy , Honest Mom and Blogher, is a contributing author to The Herstories Project anthology and is the director and co-producer of Listen To Your Mother: Portland. A collection of her jokes, links to published work and blogs are all gathered at CarisaMiller.com and can be found scattered across social media forums.