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Traumatizing family vacations | Our Corner
The middle of June is a happy time for students and teachers when schools release the future leaders of our country back to their parents.
Parents must accept at some point that although your child has purple hair, wears hand-me-down clothes from a Martian and listens to music that sounds like barfing, they will eventually win. They will be smarter, cooler and able to make pink and green tech devices work that God doesn’t even understand.
That war was lost the moment you decided to have a child.
However, June 21 offers a little bit of solace.
The first day of summer is opening salvo in the generational vacation wars.
Let me reveal a secret only known and admitted by parents past the age of child-rearing consent.
Family vacations are not meant to be fun, joyous, educational, bonding experiences to teach life skills or broaden horizons and all the other nonsense shown on television ads.
Vacations with children are designed for generational revenge.
New parents, (parents who do not have children … yet), are easy to spot because they still know everything about child rearing. There are few adults more knowledgable about child rearing than a couple who has never had children, but are preparing to begin the happy journey.
That was me. I had it all planned out. Then my daughter was born and the plan dissolved into particle chaos.
I was at a conference recently and a woman I was talking to told me how her father and mother made her go to every boring museum from here to Bango Bango in their Aristocrat trailer.
She emphatically said she would never do that. When I asked her where she planned to take her kids on summer vacation she said a new modern art exhibit in Wyoming.
Another battle on the frontline of the vacation wars.
When my daughter was about 9 or 10 years old, I took her to St. Ignatius, Mont. and the National Bison Range.
Katy had the lucky chance to get up before sunrise and endure a slow trek through the bison range. The buffalo were so far away they looked like brown specks on the windows.
Later that day, we decided to rush back from Helena and go through the range a second time, just making it at 6 p.m. before the gates closed.
When we came over the top ridge we were suddenly surrounded by the entire bison herd. They began using our car as a scratching post blotting out all light inside.
She yelled at me for stranding her in the middle of knowwheresville surrounded by “marauding, stupid buffalo” ready to trample our car and use it as a bridge to romper room.
It wasn’t until she was an adult that Katy realized I made her live through bison trauma, instead of going to Disneyland to see a three-fingered mouse.
She claims I have scarred her for life by not taking her to Disneyland. (I think I know a couple of colluding reporters who would agree, but I am careful to never let them compare notes.)
Someday, somehow, my daughter will end up back at the bison range telling her bored kid about how she was nearly trampled because of her dopey brother and misguided father.