Friday, August 20, 2010

Driving and Zipping and Rafting, Oh My!

I was home, and then I was home again.

In between, over the course of 5 nights and 6 whirlwind days I was captive in a car for a total of 17 hours dipping our wheels in four different states; I minigolfed, badmintoned not-too-terribly (did I mention I have no hand-eye coordination so, yes, this was actually one of the more difficult of all the "feats" for me),  ziplined and whitewater rafted, and in between all of that I eked out a massage and a few gloriously-quiet and relaxing swims.

Of course, it was only the latter that felt like the traditional definition of vacation, but I'm not complaining.

I am neither an athlete nor a daredevil, and I am the only girl in the house. One of the main reasons I plan these "non-stop, on-the-go" vacations is to give my two boys -- 12, and about to turn 15 -- a true chance to bond.

The truth is, they are very different boys with very different interests, and at home, with other options at their fingertips, they don't always spend the kind of quality time together I had hoped they would.

But shoved in a car with new things on the horizon, there is truly the need and opportunity to bond. To cuddle up together, And to find common ground.

Despite the dollars spent on ziplines and raft excursions and 40 ft. ropes courses, this vacation that opportunity was found in the simplest of places: in the car (okay, only on the ride there) and on the badminton court at our hotel.

There were silly, fun, exhausting matches of us against them (we lost, we lost, and, er, we lost), and, more importantly, there were Federer-Nadal quality matches between them that lasted more than two hours.

In the end, the older son bettered the younger son by a few mere points, which in our house is a very good and important thing.

But most of all there was good sportsmanship, a sheer joy at playing with one another, and, most importantly, talks about wanting to find a badminton league here where they can be a team and "destroy" everyone else TOGETHER.

For me, the vacation had high highs (I am now officially a zipline addict) and low lows (sometimes, in a family of three men, I am the only one to rally to do anything and everything, and yet, still, the far less appreciated and, -- harder -- the less "wanted" parent).

But the knowledge that my boys, for a few short days, bonded and admired each other, was well worth the money, the heartache and the trip. And, my own personal exhilaration was a bonus.



  1. You see? Another reason why I love road trips. This is exactly when the girls get their old "chimie" back ("chemistry" in French -- when my younger went to French school as a child, she bemoaned no longer having it with her sister). I love the unique experience of the family road trip.

    PS in that weird synchronicity you and I have, I blogged about road trips this week AND finished "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" (see your title of previous post).

  2. Your right about the vacation bring the boys closer. When we went on family vacations my brothers would always team up, usually against me and my sister.
    At home the only time the saw each other was when they went to bed in their shared room. They still talk about the fun they had on vacations.

  3. Barb, I too remember the chimie and plain adventurous fun my sister and I -- both very different just like my boys -- had on our family vacations. I hope that these moments will be just the dab of Gorilla Glue that is needed. I cross my fingers it will., I too, still remember that vacation fun. Those moments that stand out because they were new and different and also often provided an independence we can't get as kids at home. Especially these days.

    As far as your brothers went, though, I sure hope you and your sister took them. ;)

  4. Beautiful! We found that camping trips were just the thing for our family. Nothing bonds you quite the way a disastrous experience does. Or a perfect one. And we've had plenty of both. :)

  5. Sounds like one for the memory book. You look so happy and young and alive in that picture!