Once every couple of years, my parents would dream (aloud) about taking a family vacation; and every time, it was the same – Arizona and the Grand Canyon. I think that the Grand Canyon must feel like an attainable vacation spot when one doesn’t have lots of funds. As a rule, I look at the world through rosy tinted glasses and I usually believe the best in people until it is utterly undeniable that something is wrong so I pretty much always believed that in the summer, our family would go to Arizona for our “Annual” family vacation.
Technically speaking, I never went on any “real” vacation until my honeymoon. That isn’t to say that I didn’t go places. Every few years or so, we would sojourn up to my Grandma Mini’s house in San Francisco which, in my childlike mind, was BY FAR the best trip we ever took…probably because it was far away. My grandmother lived in dream castle, or so I thought. It was 2 (Or was it 3?…) stories with a formal library in the front room where, right at my eye level, there was a section of Dr. Seuss and other children’s books just for me and my brother.
On a more regular basis, we would spend a week or two in the summer at my other grandmother’s house in East L.A. She lived at the end of a row of apartments…. projects. Behind her building was a field where cactus type plants grew. I remember this one time when I got sunburnt on my shoulders and she took me out the field and sliced off some “cactus” and put it right on my shoulder. She is totally old-school-awesome.
Since I have gotten married, our family has gone on an Alaskan Cruise, we made the rounds in San Diego (Zoo, wild animal park, Sea World), to Disneyworld in Florida, river living in Lake Havasu and taken a road trip to Colorado by way of the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas (and kid-less, we went to Hawaii). Some of these trips were provided to us by generous family members and I am forever grateful to them. Maybe that is what we are supposed to do for our children when they have families of their own. But since they, unlike the poor, little, rich, white Mexican, have already been on these grand adventures, how do I help them appreciate these opportunities as much as I do? I don’t really know.
As best as I can tell (and this may sound bad), I try two things to help them REALLY appreciate these trips: #1 – I make them financially contribute to some small part of it and #2 – sometimes my husband and I go without them. It might sound unfair but I think we are better parents for it and they appreciate the times we do take them. (Side note: they are often better behaved on vacation when we threaten to leave them home “next time” since it is true sometimes).
In an ironic twist, our family is going to spend a frigid week in Sedona, Arizona this month. One stop will of course be the Grand Canyon. It’s kinda funny how this stuff works out.