Freshly Squeezed

Jan 17 2011

When we took Abby (12) to her birth country of Vietnam two years ago, I introduced her to Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese coffee is thick, potent, and laced with sweetened condensed milk.  It’s a hit of caffeine and sugar that’ll strip the enamel off your teeth and make the dead sit up and bark — all in one fell swoop.

It’ll even allow a 10 year old kid to keep moving all day in a time zone opposite her own.

I say this by way of confession, not self-congratulation.  In 7th grade, my dorm father told me that drinking coffee would make my knees turn black.  I don’t know if that was some kind of Italian saying (he also insisted we never cut our spaghetti noodles) or if he was just weird.  Regardless, he made me believe to the depth of my being that feeding coffee to a child is wrong.

My life is full of neverthelesses.

Nevertheless, Abby picked up the coffee habit well and truly.

On every trip, we seem to pick up a few more bad habits.

Like my habit in Canada, where I’m always sure to buy a couple bottles of Tylenol with codeine before my return trip to the States.  Hey, it’s legal.  And wonderful.  And although they say there’s not enough codeine to make much of a pain-relief difference, this is one of those instances when I actually believe it’s the thought that counts.  I think it works, therefore it does.

For your information, I have not fed Tylenol with codeine to my kids no matter how many times I’ve been tempted by the sleep-inducing side effect.  Now I am congratulating myself.  Yay, me!

Sure, I have low standards.  Standards you could probably trip over.  But they’re there for the tripping, right?  I’m going with the theory that some standards are better than none.

Katee (15) has her permit to learn to drive.  Her real parents insist on teaching her themselves without my help.  Something about needing to be responsible for their own child while she’s maneuvering a lethal weapon.  (Blah blah blah).  On this trip, I taught her to drive while talking on a cell phone:

OK.  Maybe her parents have a point.

Also in the bad habits department, we let our Meat Eater (aka, Ian) order the world’s largest chicken nugget.

He threw up a few hours later.

Some people say, quit while you’re ahead.

I say, squeeze every little, tiny bit of fun out of every vacation and when you’re an empty husk with nothing left to give then go home.

Consider the fun squeezed:

The absolute best kind of vacation is the one where you can’t wait to go and then, when it’s over, you can’t wait to come home.

We just had the best kind of vacation.

I am thrilled to be home.

Our little ones are tucked safely in bed.

Visions of Buzz Lightyear dance in their head.

It’s finally time to soak in the tub, massage my feet and find that bottle of Canadian Tylenol.  (You’re surprised I wasn’t on drugs the whole time, aren’t you?)

Before I go, though, thanks for coming along on this trip.  I’m grateful for your kindness in reading and commenting.

And a special thanks to the behind-the-scenes crew who made the trip possible:

  • My folks, who watched 4 kids at various times, provided airport shuttle service, and learned that Aden is the Boss of the McDonalds Playland (and everywhere else — the sooner you learn, the easier it is on everyone)
  • Greg’s folks, who watched 3 kids at various times and learned to check first to make sure the McDonalds Happy Meal Toy is not a personal voice amplification device
  • My cousin, who heard my cry for help and provided emergency science tutoring for a desperate middle schooler
  • Katee’s folks, who watched 1 kid and who also said we weren’t crazy for doing this (they lie on demand which is why they’re such good friends)

Sending love to you all and best wishes for a good night’s sleep (I can think of no higher blessing),

Beth