Y-- the first letter in the announcement YES!!!! We have a plan! We have tickets! It's gonna happen ( knockwoodthrowsaltspit) We ( pause for dramatic effect) are going on vacation.
After Plan A was tossed out a month or so ago I thought my vacation with the two older children was bust. I scrambled and revised. I kept meeting roadblocks and I wasn't even on the road yet. Plans B- H were trashed in rapid succession. Somewhere around Plan Q I began to doubt. But then we hit on PLAN Y. Suddenly things clicked into place.Clicky click click DING! We have a vacation!
This is NOT an annual occurrence in my life. It was in the my life as a child, but as a parent- nope. Any vacations that we have taken in my 18 years of marriage have revolved around visiting family. And, while this one does too, but there are other activities. More family. More friends. More place my kids always wanted to go but never have. More things that I always wanted to share with them but couldn't. Stinkin' life kept getting in the way.
I do feel a bit odd, in this year of recession, talking about vacation plans. People that I care about are out of work or really stretching their dollars in non-career jobs. Every time I turn on the news or read the paper I see ways to economize and cut back. We have been economizing and cutting back for years. When we were downsized and everyone else ( it seemed) was upsizing I was happy for them. Happy that they got to take a cruise while we wondered how to pay the hospital bills. Happy that they moved from a 2-4 bedroom house while we were still renting. Happy that they got a purse or pair of shoes that costs more than our weekly food budget. I was happy for them because I loved them. I am hoping that they can now feel the same for me.
Don't get me wrong ,I'm still economizing. I have a budget that I must adhere to. We will be staying on sofas and in guest rooms of people that I care about and don't see nearly enough. We will eat cheap most meals, but my son will have his first lobster dinner. We will visit sights,but not necessarily gift shops. Bekah and I recently discovered that we can easily share a chicken dinner and both be satisfied. Train travel instead of air travel is saving us quite a bit but the kids are looking at that as the ultimate adventure. I'm hauling my ancient digital camera instead of getting a new one. We are searching for a refurbished laptop to stay connected. Thifty not spendy is the order of the day. But the ultimate goal of having a great adventure is our main focus. Plan Y is providing that for us!
So here, in it's black and white glory is PLAN Y:
Travel via Car ( my parents vehicle had been stored in my Midwest town for the past few years while they lived on their boat overseas) from MO to PA . Stopping to touch the St Louis Arch as we leave Mo. ( Both the kids wanted to do this.. it's symbolic and when a 10 year old says that you go out of your way to make it happen) 2 days travel.
PA: Tour Crayola Factory. Travel to NJ
NJ: Visit with my college roommate and her family. I think it’s a big deal when people can stay connected for almost 25 years. We need to celebrate that. On the second day we will take the train into NYC for the day. 3 calendar days. Travel to CT
CT: Stay with my twin brother and his family for 4 days. Force my kids to visit all my childhood haunts. Some they will love ( the beach) some they will tolerate( my childhood home). Travel to NH on the 5th day.
NH: Visit with my aunt and cousins and meet their families. It has been so long that none of them have met my kids and they have whole families that I have only seen in pictures. My kids are not only excited to meet second cousins they know nothing of, but Brian has had them watch What About Bob so many times that if we didn't go to Lake Winnipesaukee I would be de-momed. TO ME
ME: Stay on my parents boat for 5 days. 5 days of Coastal Maine. 5 days of being lulled to sleep with the gentle rocking of a boat. 5 days of my kids experiencing what my childhood was like. Only the current boat is WAY nicer and bigger than the one I had to walk five miles uphill in a snowstorm to get aboard as a child. Luke will have his first lobster dinner in the ultimate way: we will meet the lobster boats as they come into harbor and buy our lobster right from them. Can not get fresher than that. Eat the lobster in the cockpit and get as messy as we want while tossing the shells overboard. OOPAH! He will be spoiled for the rest of his life. Day 5 To Boston!
Boston: We board a train mid day to arrive the next morning in Chicago!
Chicago: 3 calendar days of visiting friends in the area where we lived for 5 years as newlyweds. Bekah was born there. Her godmother lives there. We will be staying with her and her husband, the kind of friends that I think of as family. We will see old friends and I will get to meet a woman I have only known via the internet for , hmm.. 4 years?
On the last day we will take our final leg and head back home. Back to Brian and the Tiny Tot who would have been receiving not only daily phone calls but postcards and DVDs from the road.
17 days, 12 states. 3 road weary but dream fulfilled travelers. The ultimate lesson we all could learn is that sometimes you have to work your way to the back of the Alphabet before you live your dreams.