Tuesday, May 26, 2009
13 Lessons Learned From My Wild West Virginia Vacation
Vacation is a good word. It’s a time when we are able (or should be able) to let go of our hard working schedules and kick back, relax and enjoy family and friends. Memorial Day weekend is usually the kickoff of summer and we were very lucky to get a beautiful weekend in our part of the country.
The surprising thing about vacations is that I do a lot of thinking. It’s a time when my mind is the clearest because distractions are at a minimum and especially when I drive, I find it helps take the edge off of highway hypnosis. When I think though, I find that I learn about myself in different ways. Sometimes good and sometimes, not so good. God just seems always ready to teach us something if we just take the time to listen.
So here are a few things that I learned on my vacation to West Virginia.
7:00 am Thursday morning: It is never good to sleep a vacation away. We were supposed to be in the car by six. Maggie, my baby girl, and I decided that six was too early. Not only does getting up late put you behind, it often adds stress to everyone. Why do we decide to plan a tight schedule for a vacation, a time that is to relax? We want to get all the fun in we can, right? Lesson one, throw intense schedules out the window.
12:00 noon Thursday: Lesson two, if you have someone behind your driver’s seat and they scream that they are not feeling good, pull over immediately. My daughter Megan was talking about a tummy ache and with me being concerned about time, thought nothing of it. Thankfully, we decided to pull off to get lunch. As we stood outside the vehicle, my little sweetie leaned over and heaved what was left of her milk onto the ground. Man, am I glad she waited. That looked gross.
12:01pm Thursday: Question, do Amish people have to walk in a straight line? This group of people saw my daughter throw up that milk and seconds later, they walked right through it. Lesson three: People are strange, no matter where you are.
4:00pm Thursday: Lesson four, children do not turn red in spots that are not in the sunshine. Silly me, I thought that Maggie was getting sunburn on her face since she sits next to the window. Wrong, upon diaper inspection, she was covered in a not so beautiful rash from the penicillin she was taking. She has the same allergy as dear old dad. Now she was itchy.
7:15pm Thursday night: Lesson five, never compare notes with a pharmacist, even if he is your friend about what other pharmacists are recommending for your child. I knew we needed Benadryl for Maggie’s itch and I decided to go to the pharmacy of a friend. I told him what I needed. He told me that she shouldn’t be taking the medication until she turns two. She has been taking said medication for almost five months for different needs. I told him that my local pharmacist said it was OK. He flipped. He mumbled something about reporting them to some board, but I stopped listening. I took the Benadryl and got outta Dodge.
10:45 pm Thursday night: This should be two lessons in one, but I think there is one real important lesson that takes precedent over the other. I probably shouldn’t have stayed on schedule and went out with my friend John. At this time, I had been out only an hour or so and my wife called his cell phone. She wanted to talk to me and I was driving. I elected to put it on speakerphone. Lesson six: Husbands, never, Never, NEVER do this when you have friends around. She starts screaming at me because one of my kids couldn’t go to sleep in a strange place without daddy. She added some flavorful language to the conversation that made John begin to laugh. I was in deep. Enough said.
9:30 am Friday morning: Lesson seven might have been the toughest lesson of the weekend. We went visiting graveyards with my mother and while visiting my aunt Agnes’ grave, I realized something. In the graves next to them were a woman I did not like and her sons. The woman really messed me over during my student teaching 18 years ago and I realized I hadn’t let go of it in all of this time. I said something about what I might do if no one were around and my wife immediately told me by that look of hers that I was not carrying a Christian attitude toward this woman in front of my kids. When my eldest asked what it meant by what I said, I knew she was right.
Forgiveness is something that Christ commands us to do. The best known example is during communion. If you have ought (differences) with a brother, you are to go to that brother before you take communion, if possible. That’s how serious Jesus felt about having a heart that had no forgiveness. To share in his body, forgiveness definitely has to be in your blood. This lesson was so hard on me for the rest of the day, that by Sunday, I had decided that I need to research and talk about forgiveness so that we can be better Christians, and that means me included. We’ll talk about that more in the coming week.
12:30 pm Friday afternoon: My family loves pizza. I mean, they REALLY love pizza. Next to hot dogs and shells & cheese, pizza is the best food available. So we decided to go to Cici’s Pizza. In Kissimmee, FL, a friend of mine owns two of these restaurants and they are top of the line, both in food production and in staff. They take the business personally believing scripture that tells them to do their work as unto the Lord. It just didn’t happen that way in West Virginia. To these people, it was a job, not something to be proud of, and boy did it show. The food was average at best and the staff only slightly better. There was one black fellow (he was the only one of that mellanin there, that’s why I mention it) who did take pride in his work. He was buzzing around everywhere trying to make people happy as he took their plates. He was a good man, Charlie Brown! Lesson eight: Never put your expectation of a business so high that if it isn’t top notch that you are massively disappointed.
7:45 pm Friday night: Lesson nine, when you are massively disappointed in your vacation and the people that are with you, take a step back somewhere quiet. Friday was frustrating for many reasons, but I got really bent out of shape because I’d had enough disappointment. I told my family that I was going to the pool to relax. When I got there, there were two teenage girls, probably no older than 15 on one end. I went to the other end and stood there against the wall, closed my eyes and took in some quiet time. It turned my weekend around. Taking time to talk to God and share how bad it seemed made it better. It wasn’t so awful. I prayed for a better time.
3:40 pm Saturday afternoon: A little fact that doctors tell us is that if we spend too much time in the sun, it might not be good for us. My wife did take precautions for our children to give them sunscreen, that’s the good little cancer-preventing radiation therapist that she is. However, something that we didn’t do was watch what type of drinks we gave our kids. They had nice sugary fruit juices and not enough straight water during the day out at the park. What this led to is three not so friendly cases of diarrhea. Lesson ten: Water is the best drink in the heat of the day. Lesson 11 is to never sing the diarrhea song at the top of your lungs when three exhausted children are trying to sleep in the back seat of your SUV. No matter how funny you think the song is.
5:00 am Sunday morning: My wife woke up hysterically after one of our kids had another toilet trot episode a few minutes earlier without doing the trotting part in the bed next to her. She was pissed and not wanting to think rationally. She did all the right mothering things when it came to the child, however what she was not compensating for was a husband that had only been asleep for less than four hours because he was out with friends and had come home to a son that did not wish to sleep and wanted to hang out with dad for some one-on-one time. Lesson 12, allow a sleeping husband to stay where he is until he is thinking rationally. It affected the rest of the drive home. Not in an angry way, but in the lack of sleep way. During the 80’s, some company made these tacky little flamingoes that would nose dive toward this little thing of water that I think was magnetized in some way. They were plastic and dreadfully ugly. Of course, my mother loved them. Well, several times during the drive home, I was doing my best imitation. Each time I did, my wife would drive for an hour or so to let me rest. But it wasn’t enough. I was exhausted.
5:00pm Sunday night: We finally made it home. I was wiped and ready for a nap. We had dinner first. After that, I had new energy and could not go to sleep. Lucky lesson 13: Never eat when you want to sleep. I couldn’t lay down for hours and by that point, I was a pretty cranky fella. Thank God that when I hit the bed at almost 11:00pm, I went right to sleep.
We survived the weekend. My wife and I have sworn that we are not taking a family vacation until our children are in their teens, but that will probably last for about six months, enough time to say, man, do I ever need a vacation!
I love you guys!