by Cheryl Demas
Dave Barry says that there's no such thing as "fun for the whole family.This past summer, as my family set off on a two-week vacation to Florida, I was determined to prove him wrong. The challenge: one husband, and two daughters, ages ten and seventeen. As all parents of teenagers know, teenagers will find something to be unhappy about in any situation:
"Honey, look at the beautiful sunset, feel the cool ocean breeze on your face and look! I just found a hundred dollar bill on the ground."
"How can you be happy? Do you see how frizzy my hair is in this humidity?"
So I had my work cut out for me. Florida is home to approximately 125 family-friendly destinations, and five of my in-laws. I love my in-laws of course, and Florida is a great place for them. You may remember that Florida was also home to quite a few hurricanes, and several feet of precipitation this summer. So our theme park experience was dampened a bit, but we managed to have a pretty good time. However, it just wasn't that whole-family fun I had hoped for. So to cap off our vacation experience, I planned for us to attend a fabulous fun-filled luau on our final night in Florida at our fabulous rodent-themed resort hotel. But since it had been raining all day I assumed that the luau would be canceled. My oldest daughter has several dietary restrictions, so restaurant trips require some preplanning. I went to the front desk to make alternative plans. "Oh no, the luau is never cancelled because of rain." I was told. So we all put on our garbage bag chic rain gear and slogged to Luau Cove. It seemed a little quiet - too quiet. The "Are you crazy, in this rain?" look I received as I tried to check in for the luau confirmed my suspicion that the luau was indeed canceled. We were now all soaking wet, hungry, and tired. By this time, all of the other restaurants were completely booked and the "helpful" manager offered this advice, "You should have checked at the desk earlier - then you would have known that the luau was canceled." This is when I -- as my children now refer to it - Went Luau. As in: "Look out, Mom's about to 'Go Luau'".
Or, "Oh-oh, we're in trouble now, Mom's Going Luau!" I'm usually very slow to anger. I smile when cut off in traffic. I chuckle when the person in front of me in the fast lane at the grocery store has fifteen items in her cart. But I'd reached the end of my rope. After two weeks of waiting in lines and standing in rain, and visiting with in-laws, I cracked. Steam came out of my ears, my nostrils flared, I spoke in a different language, and I may have even turned green and ripped my shirt. It's all a blur. And now my kids now have a new extreme on their mom mood meter:
Little Irritated Pretty Angry Really Mad ... Gone Luau So after a few moments with the manager I caught up with my family. Apparently Going Luau was sufficient to get us seats at another dinner show, The Hoop-Dee-Do Review.
I gathered the troops.
"Where are we going?"
"To the Hoop-Dee-Freaking-Do-Review. Follow me!"
"This is the most miserable I've ever been in my entire life." My ten-year-old moaned.
"That's impossible," I told her, "you're at the happiest place on earth!"
The others knew better than to disagree at this point. They quietly put on their rain gear and marched towards the Hoop-Dee-Do Review like soldiers on the Bataan Death March. We ended the evening, soaking wet, eating beans and fried chicken, and having a hee-haw good time at the Hoop-Dee-Freaking-Do-Review. Now if that's not fun for the whole family, I'd like to know what is.
Cheryl is the founder and publisher of WAHM.com. She lives and works at her home in California with her husband and two daughters. She is also the author of "It's a Jungle Out There and a Zoo in Here/Run Your Home Business Without Letting it Overrun You"
My Eggs are Frozen
"My Holiday Calendar"
"The Work-at-Home Mom's Lifestyle Quiz"