I have discovered that there are stages a woman goes through as she prepares for a family vacation. Through thorough research (I spoke to tens of women about it) and strict observation, I have determined the following to be the steps through which we approach the impending trip.
Beginning when the trip actually appears in black and white on a calendar, this stage can be as brief as a few minutes or last as long as up to days before the actual trip. It sounds like this: “It’s going to be WONDERFUL! and RELAXING! and I’m going to cook everything before we go, so I won’t have anything to worry about and the children won’t fight and their clothes won’t get dirty, in fact we won’t need many clothes because we’ll just be at the pool all the time and it will be WONDERFUL and RELAXING!”
“I have plenty of time to cook all the things and pack all the things and clean all the things. Plenty of time.”
Accompanied by lying in the middle of a room, surrounded by partially completed tasks. “THERE ARE TOO MANY THINGS!”
“I promise if you don’t eat at all today you can eat anything you want when we’re on vacation! Anything! You want me to buy the cocoa sugar bomb cereal that turns your poop blue? I will, just as long as you don’t need anything at all for any reason all day. In fact, why don’t you just go to bed at 10 am?”
“Oh. Look. It’s only 3 am. I still have three hours to finish up the last of the packing, scrub out the oven, wash all the walls and sew myself a classy beach cover-up. Plenty of time. I can sleep in the car on the way.”
“Did I turn the iron off? Did I turn the oven off? Did I remember the bathing suits, toothbrushes, underwear . . .? What if it snows? I didn’t pack anything for snow. What if there are no blankets for the beds? Did I remember pajamas? What did I put in the suitcases? Is there anything in the suitcases? WHAT IF I PACKED EMPTY SUITCASES?!?”
“Oh this is nice. We should do this again.”
I may, or may not have based this solely on what has happened in my house this week and what I anticipate happening over the next 48 hours.