Mother of All Mavens

A whole lot o' nothing. And then some…

Vacation was calling. And I was listening…

A few weeks ago I was presented with an opportunity for my kids and I to escape winter and head down to sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a long weekend. Said weekend happened to be Family Day and my boys had a mid-winter break from school. My husband was busy with work so I told my kids the good news…and was met with an awkward silence. My youngest son, age 10, told me he wanted to stay home with his father to have special one-on-one time. I didn’t mind, as it gave me a chance to hang with my big boys, ages 13 and 15. Next, my 13-year-old reminded me that his hockey team was fighting for a playoff spot and he couldn’t miss the games. That left my eldest, he of the similar interests and sympatico vibes. When I told him it was just him ‘n me, he cringed and told me he’d rather stay home.

Naturally I flew off the handle.

Insulted and hurt, I yelled at them all and stomped off, dramatically. And my eldest son yelled right back, exasperated. “You always tell us to be honest, so why are you getting so mad at me?” He was absolutely right. Why was I getting so upset? Here’s my 15 year-old boy with school work and friends and XBox who knows himself really well. And realized, before I did, that he’d likely be bored hanging out poolside with “a bunch of old people”.

Cringing at the “old” part, I begrudgingly acknowledged that he was right. I’m not the parent who throws around a football, plays water volleyball or roughhouses in the pool. I’m the reader. The lounger. The dinner entertainment. I tried luring him down with offers of surfing lessons, and even suggested he bring a friend, but he was having none of it. He asked me if, when I was 15, I would’ve gone with my mom to visit my grandparents. Obviously I would. And I did. With or without parents, and often with my brother, I jumped at the chance to escape winter and head down to Florida to visit the grandparents in the concrete jungle they called their southern home, Palm Aire.

Palm Aire was built around a golf course, surrounded by apparent no-go areas, and I loved to hate it. I’d lie out by the pool with the grandmothers and their final-net super sprayed hairdos that couldn’t get wet or be touched, fending off questions about boyfriends and marriage. My Zaidy would golf, or swim a couple of lengths before grabbing his paper and a seat next to me. We’d go for early-bird dinners and watch a lot of television. While my brother would often test the grandparents’ patience by rollerblading the 5 miles to the beach, or disappearing to meet up with rando friends he’d make on the daily, I’d hang out with my grandmother as she’d share stories and gossip. We’d join my grandfather at the local dirty bakery to pick up day-old bagels he could scoop out and fill with cottage cheese. They’d drop me off at Loehmann’s Plaza or take me to The Flea. I think I bought a pink Sony Walkman 3 years in a row. If it rained and they were feeling particularly wild ‘n crazy we’d bypass Burdine’s and drive to The Galleria, where Saks and Bloomingdale’s were waiting. My grandparents loved it as much as I did, encouraging me to try and buy. “If you love it”, they’d say, “buy two”. Ann Taylor, The Limited, Express, Victoria’s Secret and, of course, the holy grail: Polo Ralph Lauren for stripey button downs and rugby shirts. I’d fly back home tanned, overfed, and excited to show my friends all the contraband clothing I smuggled passed customs

But those were the 19080’s. And this is now. When I pictured my boys between the hours of noon and 6PM, I knew they’d be going out of their minds. No one to run around with or play with. They weren’t into lounging and chatting, shopping and eating. Regardless of whatever adventure I dangled as bait (Surfing! Zip-lining! Fishing! Day trips!) they simply weren’t biting. My eldest explained that I shouldn’t take it personally, it just wasn’t as fun without another kid around. Was I hurt? Yes. Did I get over it? Yes. And did I still ditch my family over Family Day weekend to go to Mexico? Damn right!  When I called to tell the grandparents the news, that it was just me flying south, they didn’t even pretend to hide their delight. Sure, they missed my kids, their grandchildren. But they were thrilled to have their daughter to themselves for a fast 4 days. Four days of lounging and chatting, shopping and eating. And when I returned the snowy Sunday of the long-weekend, with novelty-tees, tequila and Mexican chocolate, it was just in time to spend Family Day with my family. And to remind me that flying south to visit the grandparents really is the best way to spend time, with or without the kids.

2 Responses

  1. Wow. You write so well. Yes. I get it that the boys didn’t wNt to come And I get that you went alone anyway. You know , that when I spend time at this age with Steff or Lisa sans famille it it just great. It doesn’t happen often but I just LOVE when it happens. You will see how it all works when you are at the grandmother stage. I had a tear in my eye when I finished reading your post. Xxx finger

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