Kids Fly Free
When Jeannie was a little girl, she would get showered with Christmas presents. She would get hundred of dollars of the coolest talking, moving, glowing and growing toys that were unimaginable in our youth. Her favorite part? The box that they came in. So why are we telling you this during travel week? Because traveling with children isn’t that hard as long as you remember that sometimes the box is the coolest part.
Paul says: I mentioned it yesterday that I traveled a lot as a kid. One of the things that made the experience so amazing was that, during our vacation time, my parents talked to me. They talked not at me but to me in a way that approximated conversation. They asked me what I thought about things that I saw and they were alright if I did not agree with their perception of things. They discussed things.
During my freshman year of high school, my family took a trip to Europe with my maternal grandparents. Since my grandparents were Hungarian, we hit the Eastern European countries including Hungary and the now redistricted Yugoslavia. My two biggest memories of the trip are the food and talking about the food. In Yugoslavia, the inn keep where we were staying wanted to hook up the American with breakfast. I watched, wide eyed, as the hotel owner brought out tray after tray of food; silver platters of fried eggs, bacon, pork chops, thinly sliced ham, and some breakfast meats that I had never had before. There were only six of us and enough food to feed twice that many. I ate until I was engorged, sampling everything, and commenting on the flavors, smell and texture. We ate and discussed eating until we couldn’t eat any more.
During the trip, I found myself watching my parents a lot, trying to figure out what they were seeing. The old world architecture was totally lost to me as an adolescent boy so my eye wandered to the people. While my folks looked at buildings, I looked at women. Remember, I was a pubescent boy, so the female form was of paramount importance. In Eastern Europe, before the fall of the Soviet Union, the women had two modes; old and young. Under the age of 18, they looked like an average teen, wearing jeans and makeup. Magically, the young women shifted into old with a quantum leap that precluded any middle age. They went from cute and made-up to mustached and babushka wearing all overnight.
As I was watching one young lady walk next to another old lady and making note that the two were probably only a year or two apart in age, my father caught my eye. He looked at me then at the two women. In that moment, I was no longer following them on a cultural exploration but he was following me, seeing what I saw. He smiled and said, ‘your mom stands out, doesn’t she?’ as he gestured to my mother who was neither young nor old.
Now that I’m the dad, I’m looking forward to seeing what my kids think is interesting, dull, baffling, and hilarious.
Lee says: Knowing Paul, he probably liked the one with the good ass. But back to kids and travel.
I have to admit this week is a little therapeutic for me since we are writing it prior to a family vacation. We have never traveled long distances with the boys and their reactions are of particular concern to me. So, like a good Mommy, I am planning the shit out of this vacation.
I know I am overthinking it and overplanning. Like Paul said, I think they will be happy doing what they normally do; hanging out and playing. They will have the opportunity to meet some cousins they have never met and experience a different part of the world. I think as a mother, the priorities are different. We worry about comfort, hunger, happiness and enjoyment, making sure to pack enough underwear and Kid’s Tylenol. Whereas Daddy is worried that we haven’t planned enough danger in this adventure, Mommy is trying to figure out what day to wash clothes and what SPF will be appropriate for the car.
I realize when the Mom haze lifts that the boys will have fun anywhere. Jeannie and I are girls. We’ll chat, joke and make fun of the boys. I look forward to catching my guys checking out the locals. I wonder if Paul will be disappointed that there won’t be any babushkas where we’re going.