Paradise evolved

Vacations as an adult are so much more evolved. Or devolved. Back in the days of my youth, we traveled in a gigantic Pontiac Parisienne; a rolling, steel Turducken filled with parents with children with pets with toys with snacks. We went where the people with the steering wheel told us we were going. There were pit stops and pee stops. Roadside attractions and wayside defecations. Nestled among these holiday treats were the tourist spots. The Worlds Greatest something. The Biggest Other Thing in The Tri-County Area. We were small humans easily impressed by novelty sized anything. To this day I am still fascinated by lottery winning cheques. My four-foot wide wallet is dying to have one of those stuffed into it. For a lot of reasons.

Holidays as an adult take on a much more serious nature. I should specify that these are holidays as an adult without children present. Our kids are old enough to be left to fend for themselves for weeks on end. We set them up with food and emergency numbers and head out the door faster than you can search up the phone number for child services. When I was a child, my parents used to leave us under the care of my oldest brother. We were lucky to have a bowl of water and some frozen Swanson meat pies left on the counter for us. My parents too understood the requirement for the no-kids vacations. I have re-branded it for my generation as an Anti-Homicide vacation.

Please excuse the implication that the Adult Holiday is a full-on hedonistic va-cay teeming with drinks and Greek classic art-style frolicking. There might be some of that in there, but mostly it becomes the opportunity to re-connect with your partner in the absence of The Demanders.

This year we decided as adults to return to Costa Rica. We went last year without the children, and have every intention of retiring there one day, also without the children. Society makes me feel like an unfit parent sometimes because the vacations we take are primarily without the kids. I refuse to be shamed for this and suggest that those who have not holidayed without their children are afraid of nudity and fun.

No no…I couldn’t possibly have another

Our children are all old enough now that the demanding has been pared down from bathe-me-fee-me-comfort-me to a more sustainable feed-me-address-the-slow-wifi-for-me-feed-me. As they begin their foray into adulthood, they are filled with questions and skill-gaps that make our job a little more crucial. A 2-year old will instinctively eat crumbs off the floor, cigarette butts or things they find in their car seats. Teens will instinctively know how to set the house on fire by leaving the gas on, or having a family of raccoons move into the garage because they leave it open. All. The. Time.

Our adult vacations now allow us some freedom from the day to day managing of adolescent crises. Our arrival home is enough to remind us that crisis management is part of the job title for parents. Leaving it alone for a week does not pause it. It simply runs like malware in the background while you live your mango filled life.

This time when we returned, we were only greeted by the permeating stench of burned microwave popcorn and an undrained bathtub. The racoons were nice enough at least to put the recycling out.

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