The girls had a very easy and comfortable drive back from Ocean City. The minivan has a DVD player and so the kids spent some of the time watching a teen movie. I only let them spend some of the time watching a DVD on long trips and I make them stop for interesting scenery or curious vistas. They spend a lot of time reading and chatting to each other.
(Looking back, I’ve no idea why it never occurred to my dad to bring books in the car when we went on long vacation drives to some distant seaside in a car with no air conditioning at the height of an Australian summer. I was always bored silly, to the extent I would listen to my mum complain about my dad’s driving to the point he would pull over and make her drive for a while. After a couple of Near Death Experiences from her general
recklessness fearlessness behind the wheel, she would slide over to the side of the road and meekly let him get on with driving us to our destination.)
When I was a kid, my father used to hide Easter eggs around the house and use arrows on the floor to vaguely point us in the right direction. Of couse, it was initially the “Easter Bunny” that did this overnight. A downside to his clever idea was that by the time he and Mum he had woken up, my brother and I had
ransacked searched pottered about and found everything and were most of the way through the stash.
When I had kids, I wanted to carry on the tradition, but with more oversight. So my wife and I hid Easter eggs around the house, a room per person, and everyone got a chance to search, led by vague Warmer/Colder instructions (feel free to steal this idea). To my surprise, my wife did this for all 3 of us on our return from Ocean City. That was very nice. Another advantage to having a wife sealed off (at her volition, not mine, for any new readers!) in the basement versus off in her own apartment.
It came unstuck at bedtime, a time for last-minute quiet chats with the girls. Also, when they are tired, it can be a time when the tears flow more readily and problems seems more insurmountable. These days, it’s just me that spends time with them. Tonight, my youngest, Charlotte, had had enough.
Charlotte was so happy to get to the beach on Thursday, she literally cried with happiness. When we left today to come home, she cried because she wanted to stay. I didn’t see it as being more than the normal sadness at wrapping up a fun vacation. But it’s more than that. She says she’s desperately unhappy. The issues with my wife and I remain unresolved and my efforts at discussion have not been successful. Charlotte is soooo unhappy she sobbed and sobbed. My reassurances didn’t work, it was time for ‘being there’ for her rather than fixing the problems.
It seems unfair. Sometimes I can string together quite a few days in a row when I can hide all these problems under the pillow and be normal. Sometimes life seems normal, then in my mind’s eye, I read back something I recently wrote and cringe. Sometimes life just hurts because feeling bad is no fun, but sitting by your daughter’s bed while she sobs her heart out without being able to help is wrenching.