These tri-folds contain pictures of magnificent sunsets, quiet walks on white sand beaches and romantic dinners under the stars. Two questions: in what lifetime? And where do I sign up?
Even the commercials for local getaway spots can be misleading. Sure, you’ll see plenty of exciting, heart-in-your-mouth scenes of fun-loving families riding the latest roller coaster at the nearby amusement park. What you’ll never see is the lunch-on-the-shirt reaction of a nine year old who had one too many hot dogs before boarding.
Of course, my kids will tell you I’m not one to judge. After all, we haven’t been on a real vacation in years. I can blame it on the heat, on the budget, on the time constraints – heck, last year I stayed in the house the entire summer and blamed it on my pregnancy. But it’s time I confess the sad truth those travel brochures won’t tell you. Getting away from it all is too much hard work. (Heck, I have a hard enough time planning a trip to Pathmark. Forget vacations – a real break is cruising down the cereal aisle without having little helpers load your cart with the must-have Marshmallow Monster Goonies, three packages of Poptarts and a bag of water balloons.)
Think I’m wrong? Then just pull out the snapshots, souvenirs and memories from your latest vacation, and see if they even slightly resemble the travel brochures. Take mine, for example:
But I do have some getaway memories I cherish. I have a video of Max at three or four, clapping along with Barney at Universal Studios. Clam shells, collected together then painted and put away. Pictures of my kids, young and smiling and tan, taken in one of those “Four For A Dollar” photo booths.
I look at those pictures, and wanderlust stirs. If they promise not to argue over who’s riding shotgun, I may even pack the kids up and take them somewhere. It may not be what the advertisers promise. But often, it's a whole lot more.