After three days on the road with your parents you start to wonder if the marketing wordsmiths behind the term “family vacation” enjoy sick little jokes or are just huge fans of oxymorons.
“Oh no! I’m not walking there.” My mother says defiantly. “We will take the trolley.”
“Norma, that defeats the purpose of coming to a nature park.” My dad retorts.
“If you think that I’m walking in this heat, you are absolutely crazy.”
We get on the trolley.
When I was younger my brother and I used to fight over which one of us was adopted. “I’m not their kid! You look like them waaayyy more than I do.” We’d say. We’d ask our parents if we were indeed adopted. Luckily, my mother loved lying to us and so she’d invent stories about how I was sold to her by Mexican gypsies in the Sonoran Desert in Mexico. She’d wink at my dad and he’d go along for the ride. “Yenni, I had to buy you because of your pretty black hair,” She’d say smiling. I’d run back to my brother screaming: “I told you so!! I AM adopted, HAH! It’s you who’s their real kid!”
Now it’s 20 years later and I’m in the backseat praying to the universe that I don’t carry their genes half as much as I think I do.
“You know, there used to be a coffee shop here. Years ago, things have changed so much. I could have sworn that it was here.” My dad says.
“Well, dad, things change a lot in forty years…” I say trying not to sound exasperated. This is about the 20th time he mentions that things have changed in San Diego since he’s toured around there. I’m losing the tiny amount patience I have.
Why am I here? Why did I say yes to meeting my parents in San Diego and driving into the desert with them for three days?! My parents, who under normal circumstances (visiting once a week on weekends), drive me insane? First, it’s my mother who ALWAYS knows better than you about how you should be living your life and of course she has no reservations about letting you know exactly what you are doing wrong whether it be boyfriends, jobs, makeup, clothes or even hairdressers. Then she starts talking about the girl from the telenovela she just watched last night and all the bad things that happened to her because she didn’t listen to her mother, as though this is some sort of REAL point of reference or something.
Then it’s my father who is normally a very well intending individual except for the fact that he is convinced the world is out to get him and his social security checks. He tries to take the little victories where he can.
“Jen, put this in your purse.”
“Dad, it’s a packet of honey, we have some at the house and I’m not taking a packet of honey from the restaurant for you.”
Or by calling the hotel room phone from the lobby phone instead of your cell phone from his pocket JUST BECAUSE HE CAN.
Why have I, a reasonably logical and intelligent adult woman, decided to take this trip with my parents?
I realize that I’m very lucky to have the parents I do. Despite all the writing material they give me, they are good loving parents. They are also getting older and in great shape to still travel and enjoy life. So if I don’t enjoy them as an adult myself now, then when? We get older and so wrapped up in our little worlds that we forget about the important things sometimes.
This gratefulness unfortunately rarely extends itself to you when you’re sitting in the backseat annoyed that you were created by the two people in the front seats who are currently having their third argument of the day about how my father should have changed his shirt and how my mother needs to stop micromanaging his life while on vacation.
No, you just take a deep breath and thank God you brought your ipod.