Deciding that the kids needed a bit of a vacation this summer (as they had been complaining about a lack thereof), I drove the four of them, plus one nephew and a carsick doggie, to the family beach cabin over in Kingston. Ah, yes, a relaxing time for all. Especially hubby, who got to stay home and work.
I'm not being sarcastic here. His time after work was his own. Well, after he completed the chores on the three-page 'Honey (I LOVE YOU) Do' list that I left him on the kitchen table, it was all his. So, back to the relaxing vacation.
A vacation, by definition, is not relaxing if there are children and carsick doggies present. Especially carsick doggies.
I was assured that during the drive the dog was doing fine. No problems, other than excess droolage. This dog spouts buckets of slobber each time we even hint she might be going for a car ride. Putting her actually into the car brings on disgusting ropes of slobber that fly back and forth when she turns her head. It's not a sight for the faint of heart.
This is why I put her in the back of the van and not near me, the driver. Of course, safety was my primary concern. That and not coming into contact with any canine bodily fluids.
I did my best to ignore the whoops and hollers emanating from the rear of the van about how gross things were back there, as well as the occasional "Moooooom! She's using my pillow to wipe up the dog spit! Make her stop! Moooooooooooom!"
It wasn't until we arrived at the cabin that the barf was discovered. Guess who was the lucky cleaner-upper of said yuck? Not my son, who insisted that we bring along the barfing boob. It was me, of course.
Ah, yes. Let the relaxation begin.
The first thing my teenage daughter did upon arrival at the cabin was open the bathroom door on my teenage son as he was using the facilities. The ensuing dialogue was every mother's dream.
Son: "Mom! Stephanie opened the bathroom door on me! I nearly peed on the wall!"
Daughter: "You always do anyway."
I could feel the stress simply seeping out my pores.
An hour and three clothing changes later for my two youngest, it was time for me to take a leisurely stroll on the beach. Alone.
I never do anything alone. Going to the bathroom is a group event in my house. If I leave one room, I am immediately followed by at least one, if not two, of the younger kids. I think they tag-team me in the fear that suddenly I will simply poof one day and disappear. So far, that hasn't happened. But I'm hopeful.
Beach Therapy. That's what I need: some beach therapy. Someone once told me that if you write your cares in the sand as the tide is coming in, then watch as the lapping water slowly erases your worries, you begin to let go of the things causing you stress.
However, I checked, and burying your children in the sand up to their necks while the tide is coming in was still frowned upon. So much for letting go of what was causing me stress.
We went home one day early due to circumstances beyond my control.
It all started with the campfire and the boys. Teenage boys are, by definition, budding pyromaniacs.
When I guessed that taking two boys, both 13 years old and cousins, to the beach for a few days would be an experience to remember, I didn't know how right I was.
From my son inadvertently racking his boy-bits, to my nephew breathing powdered coffee into his nasal passages, to the spitting-and-peeing-on-the-fire contests - yes, it was fun for the whole family.
And when I say the whole family, I mean just the two boys. They are a walking duo of doom. Walking, sleeping or building fires, they bring joy to all. And when I say "all," I mean just the two of them. They crack themselves up in a way that is understood only by other 13-year-old boys.
Me: "Stop spitting on the fire!"
Nephew: "I have to!"
Me: "No you don't.
Nephew: "I do too. I got some chocolate up my nose!"
At this point I was beyond caring how on earth he'd gotten the chocolate up his nose, but I had to ask anyway. He said it had been in his mouth, had melted and had run into his nose.
Me: "That's impossible."
Nephew: "Not if you're upside down it isn't."
I couldn't argue with that, so I fell back on giving them disgusted looks each time they spit on the fire. When it was time to go inside the cabin for the night, they offered to put the fire out.
As I was walking toward the cabin, I heard an unmistakable sizzling sound and turned to see my son, back toward me, peeing on the fire. At least his aim was good.
I started to laugh, and he began to turn toward me, and then, realizing his mistake, quickly reversed his motion so he didn't entirely embarrass himself in front of his mother.
Ah, yes. Relaxation at its best.
You can write Pamela Troeppl Kinnaird at PamelaTroeppl@comcast.net.