Every prior vacation, with one special exception, has been a full-family affair. My wife, me, and all of the girls.
Tonight, we are wrapping up the first ‘partial-family’ vacation. My oldest daughter is finishing up her college/university year, so couldn’t join us. My other two daughters are with me in Ocean City.
My wife is at home, or somewhere. She insisted that I take the girls away to give her space. Why is a good question that I don’t have an answer to. (I spend a lot of time without answers to some very important questions these days).
In Ocean City, the weather did what it normally does when I go anywhere in the world on vacation: it changed to be Just Right.
Seriously. I have two magical skills in this life:
One, I can show up at a busy venue (major shopping mall, cinema complex, Presidential Inauguration, busy city center, you name it) and in a few minutes, a parking space that’s extremely convenient will open up for me. Even people who have driven with me many times gape and say it’s not possible. Some years ago the family stopped at the Mall of America, the biggest shopping mall in the USA, and I found a space right outside the front door right away.
Two, when I go somewhere on vacation, the weather might be forecast to be terrible. But it won’t be. It will usually change to suit me. Don’t ask me why…or how. For example, the forecast for Friday and Saturday was drizzle, rain, and even possible thunderstorms. Instead, it was decided that it was only allowed to rain at night. It cleared up for the day, and dried out by the time the two girls and I went go-carting. Also, when I say the weather will “suit me,” I don’t mean sunny and hot because for go-carting cloudy and dry is preferable.
I didn’t ask for these superpowers and, if I had been asked me which ones I’d like to have, I can think of much better ones!
Anyway, back to my partial-family vacation.
The girls and I have bonded very well. We have all got along, negotiated and compromised on our daily plans. Each night, before they’ve gone to sleep, we’ve watched a movie. As at home, we do one of my favorite things; we sprawl all over each other. As the guy, this normally means I have legs or shoulders resting on me rather than the other way around, but I have always been the affectionate type and enjoy the simple closeness that comes from snuggling up to watch a movie, or holding hands when out walking.
The girls are quite open now that they “don’t want Mommy to stay” and cite various reasons for this that are beyond my blogging remit. This bothers me. I have the ideal opportunity to win them over, to steal their hearts. All it would take is a slight push: a few careful comments and my wife’s fate might be sealed.
I can’t do it. It’s not right. This isn’t that kind of battle. This isn’t some messy divorce where the goal is to “win” without remorse. It’s a waiting game to see what on earth is going on. So I have to tell them that Mommy loves them too and that she is struggling in some ways we don’t understand, but they shouldn’t write her off. Whether it’s tomorrow or next year, she will find a way to love them both again.
As we ate dinner, the girls then asked me a question I wasn’t ready for: “Would you mind if Mommy found a new boyfriend?” I had to think about that one and eventually said, “If Mommy finds someone who uses her and abandons her, then I wouldn’t want that for her. She’d be even more upset than she is now. But, if she find a man that can give her whatever it is she needs, I’m OK with that.”
I’m in the hotel lobby tonight as the girls sleep. The Wi-Fi upstairs isn’t working. Hours later, I well up again and hope other patrons don’t notice as I write this comment about a boyfriend for their “Mommy” and someone who is technically my wife.
In summary, a great time was had by all overall. However, occasionally small things yanked on my heartstrings.