Kids, Vacation, and the Good Old days

Parenting teenagers
The Good Old Vacation Days, clearly having fun and bonding

Ok so here is my message in a bottle question, I am writing it down on this little scrap of laptop and tossing out into the ocean of internet.

What’s a mom to do?

My teenage son did not want to come on vacation with us. Should I have insisted? The photo above is from a vacation a few years ago, where he is clearly having a ball and we are strengthening our mother-son bond.

I know, right, why in the WORLD would he not want to be with us, his parents, who have loved and taken care of him for years? It makes no sense. We are so incredibly cool and fun to be with, it is practically incomprehensible to me that he would not want to hang around with us. His friends cannot possibly be as interesting as me. Why just the other day I offered to help him study for his next history test! And I admit I was going a little overboard with the repeatedly asking if he has any clue whatsoever about a career path, so I have toned that WAY down, like, less than once per day.

When kids are little, they just want to be with you all the time. You put them in their bed and hug them for over an hour (or so it seems) and then slowly try to disentangle yourself from them and they cling to your hand like their very existence depends on it. When you finally manage to pry yourself loose they call out after you for one more hug, one more kiss, one more song, one more thing I have to tell you, one more anything and one more everything.

And let’s be honest, it’s a bit annoying. We are just about to start the next chapter on our book-that-has-taken-us-four-months-to-finally-start-reading and we already feel the days’ exhaustion nibbling at the edge of our minds, so we want to get into the book before it’s too late. We just want to sit down. We don’t want to talk anymore. We want silence. We don’t want to smile anymore. We want to be left alone.

Well guess what. Before you are done that book, suddenly the child grows three feet taller and his voice changes and he does not want you anywhere NEAR his bed, much less even consider crossing the threshold of the bedroom door.

The Window Of Opportunity for parent-child bonding has snapped shut like steel bars on a jail gate.

I may be over dramatizing a little bit.

So what do you do? You keep hoping. You see all these other families where the kids spend time with their parents and share feelings and have long talks and wonder, why can’t we be like those people on TV?

So you plan family vacations and rent a nice beautiful house the south of France thinking it’s going to be so FUN! We’ll do ACTIVITIES! Like walking in the French countryside and eating in little cafés and exploring the town markets!

And then the rotten child doesn’t want to come.

I mean, it’s not like I was going to make him play road trip games during the drive.

Well, not if he really didn’t want to.

Apparently he would rather stay home in our boring apartment with a big screen tv and wifi, all alone with no parents around to remind him when to go to bed and what to eat and when to get up in the morning.

The thing is, I get it.

But it would have been so fun.

I want to be called back in for one more.

Is that too much to ask?

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