Wish You Were Here: Staycation, All I Ever Wanted

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Somehow April Break always manages to sneak up on me.

Like PPT meetings or cellulite, there’s no escaping another spring staycation or the swoon-worthy photos of friends snorkeling in the Cayman Islands, jet setting somewhere sinfully sunny, or heyday-ing in the Hamptons.

To say I’m disappointed we didn’t set sail for something seductive and sangria laden is an understatement, especially when the alternative was 10 days adrift with our high schooler, middle schooler and two’s program attendee.

I’m not much of a cruise director when it comes to providing entertainment and, let’s face it, there are only so many times you can frequent Merwin Meadows or the Maritime Aquarium before you find your shoes full of wood chips or your hands full of some overpriced stuffed octopus you’re confident he’ll play with exactly once before discarding into the stingray enclosure.

Last week was long, and the sulking was as inevitable as the Netflix marathons, Ben and Jerry’s binging and countless times I had to sequester myself in the shower until the water ran cold. If I had heard the lyrics to one more Dua Lipa song, I thought I’d seriously break into someone’s vacant house and yes, you should for sure check your spare bedrooms if you were away, good people of Wilton, I might have sent this from there.

Desperate times called for desperate measurements and I’m a good two sizes too large to shimmy through an unlocked side window.

I know what you’re thinking, there’s got to be a better break-in option. Believe me, I tried but there’s only so much casing the joint one person can handle while accompanied by someone hanging onto a honking little Hess car my husband promised he’d “lost the batteries to” but Junior somehow convinced him to reinstall. For a 2-year-old, he’s very persuasive. I swear it sounds like the set of “NYPD Blue” for a good four-mile radius here. Aren’t there decibel restrictions on these things?

So yeah, I’d much rather have spent my days sunning by a lanai, being fanned by my cabana boy, Chris Hemsworth, and inventing novel ways to pull off a bank job so I can afford next year’s April excursion. But in the interim, I was not so silently relieved I didn’t have to get up in the morning or find clean underwear or my car keys, because I got to spend some quality time with my Bourbon … I mean children.

No, really. It had been a while since my younger daughter conned me into a mall trip, robbed me blind then left me feeling like the world’s worst mother for not buying her a refrigerated face cream that cost the equivalent of luxury diamonds. My older daughter found out, of course, and gave me the silent treatment for the better part of what I will loosely refer to as family dinner then launched into a terrific tangent about how Luxury Diamond Face Cream Buyer gets everything.

Someone, please tell me boys are easier or at least cheaper. But something (my Visa bill) tells me, those little siren-wailing, flasher-flashing, (batteries unfortunately included) Hess trucks don’t pay for themselves either.

Was all of that still cheaper than island hopping or scuba diving or Chris Hemsworth? Maybe. I’m not complaining. Life is short, even if the days are long and often filled with more short orders than a 24-hour diner or more laundry than a college kid coming home for Christmas, but I’m trying to look on the bright side. It went well, in case you were wondering.

On day one, while I was stocking up on Ben and Jerry’s and batteries (God knows, we were gonna need them), the cashier told me to swipe my card and I proceeded to pull out my license, and then when it didn’t work, I handed it to him for (I think I said) “manual insertion”.

Vacation hadn’t even really started yet and I needed a vacation, and not from my staycation or myself or my life but from the things I couldn’t escape… the batteries and the Ben and Jerry’s, the short orders and not so orderly piles upon piles of laundry that I can never seem to get to the bottom of, from the Hess trucks that fail to cease wailing and all those face creams that force me to face the facts: teenage girls to the mall are what gambling addicts are to the casino.

But then my older daughter hugged me. “Thanks for the cream, mom. I can’t believe this is gonna be my last April Break here, like ever. I can’t believe I’m going to college.”

“I know,” I said, smiling through the many, many tears that suddenly were so very close to pouring down my face. “That really snuck up on me.”

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.

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