Stretching before us are 68 days of summer vacation. SIXTY EIGHT. That is many many days, my friends. And let me warn you right now: there will be ONE. In every family, on every road trip, on every outing of perfectly planned frivolity:
There will be one who sulks.
There will be one who never stops talking.
There will be one who wants to do EVERYTHING.
There will be one who wants to do NOTHING.
There will be one who won’t quit begging for snacks.
There will be one who asks a zillion questions about what we’re doing next…what we’re gonna do there…when exactly we’re going hoooome.
There will be one who doesn’t like hot dogs.
There will be one who doesn’t want his face getting wet.
There will be one who straggles behind.
There will be one who is bored.
There will be one whose bladder is always bursting.
There will be one who hates this movie that everyone else loves.
There will be one who gets carsick.
There will be one who needlessly pokes at his siblings in the backseat.
There will be one who spills her Slurpee into the seat cushions.
There will be one who refuses to sleep in a tent, use a porta-potty, wear the swimmies…you fill in the blank.
There will be one who wants to stay in the pool when everyone else wants to go to the ocean.
There will be one who wants to go to the ocean when everyone else wants to stay in the pool.
There will be one is eternally hangry.
There will be one who forgets the single most importantest thing ever back home (be they flip flops, sand digger, or the can’t-live-without techno-gadet of the moment.)
There will be one who is cold.
There will be one who is hot.
There will always be ONE in every crowd.
As we throw ourselves headlong into summer, I would be wise to remember this simple truth. There will always be ONE.
It’s as inevitable as the summer buzz of mosquitos. Yes, mosquitos are annoying as fire, but when they come, somehow we are not shocked and undone by this news. We mildly swat at them. We light citronella candles that don’t work. We stock up on Deet and Skin-So-Soft and try to ward them off as best we can.
But we know: the mosquitos will always be among us. We don’t get all huffy about it, but we try to endure them and make the best of our shared airspace anyways.
Our kids are not mosquitos. They are dear sweet precious gifts from heaven above, but they do have their moments. (Some more than others.)
And at any given moment, there always seems to be someone buzzing with unhappiness when everyone else is just peachy.
I say: Whatevs.
Throw that kid a granola bar and your best fake smile and crank up the radio.
We are together.
We are making some happy freaking memories.
We will enjoy the view anyway…dive in the water anyway…hike to the top anyway…check out that cute shop anyway. Because everybody else wants to and we are PRESSING THE HECK ON.
(I am preaching to myself more than I’m preaching to you, because I know myself and my sky-high expectations. I am never quite prepared for THE ONE who is intent on ruining the picture-perfect slide show in my head by being hungry, cranky, loud, whiney, injured, bored, whatever.)
But it’s just not possible for everyone to be PSYCHED all the time, to like all the same things, to love everything I suggest. This summer, I will resolve not to take it personally, to not to get all naggy and ranty and pouty when THE ONE shows up.
We will press on, knowing that eventually THE ONE will get with the program. Get a protein fix. Catch up. Get caught smiling. Make fun memories in spite of himself. It’ll be worth it.
And at summer’s end, after we have soldiered our way through all 68 days of family fun, I will be rewarded with a camera full of sunny memories — and yes, a hard-earned backpack full of school supplies.
So let’s go out and make some memories — even if THE ONE shows up.
Even if it kills us.