Yes, we’re grateful, pleased, and surprised that a 22-year-old living in Atlanta and a 19-year-old home from college for the summer are still OK with spending a week with their parents. A cynic might say that’s because we paid for it. An optimist might . . . agree.
Here we are:
Here are five random observations from our time together, some of which might apply to your vacation, others to your vocation, and still others to your religion.
1. The role of tradition. The four of us have stayed at the same property on every vacation we’ve taken since 1997 . . . we believe this was the 13th time over those 16 years. More than that, we do the same thing on the same night every year. Monday: BBQ at the condo. Tuesday: eat out at Fuddruckers. Wednesday: Miniature Golf (and these days, 50-year-old parents complaining mightily that they still have to do miniature golf). You may call commitment to tradition a bit OCD. Our kids call it making memories. Change the pattern at your peril.
2. The appeal of a good book. Note: this is much easier when they are 22 and 19 than when they were seven and four. Since I no longer have to spend any time pretending to dig sand castles, there’s more time to read. Frank Deford’s sportswriting memoir Over Time and Gillian Floyd’s mind-bending Gone Girl made the time go quickly indeed.
3. The power of innovation. Riley received an iPad as a gift from a college friend (crazy, right?), and so this week was my first experience with the device. Easy to use, hard to put down, flat out brilliant. I hated to give it back.
4. The pull of work. Because of item #3 above, it was oh-so-easy to check emails throughout the day. So I did. On a couple of occasions, I was actually needed. How did any of us ever go away without remote access email before?
5. The gratitude for home. No matter how good a time you have when away, there’s nothing quite like driving home. We had to check the mail, feed the cats, and mow the lawn, but those are the weekly rhythms and routines out of which the spontaneity of real life emerge.