The Bad Trip, Good Trip – Part 2

By: Stephanie Reynolds

You have arrived! You felt slightly posh and a little dorky as you handed the key to the valet. Do you tip now or when they bring the car back? It doesn’t matter, you’re giving someone money, and they probably aren’t judging you about it. Check-in was a breeze and soon you are ushered to a very nice room that looks even better than the pictures online. The kids start claiming beds and opening the curtains. You are exhausted, but the “Ooooo! Mom, look! Look out the window!” brings a smile to your face as you gamely amble over to the glass. Two blocks over a crane is swinging, planting another steel and glass tree in the urban jungle.

“My throat feels weird,” one of the kids says to you. You kiss his forehead, and your well-calibrated, fever-detecting-mom-kiss finds no fever. “It’s probably just dryness from the plane. Let’s get you something to drink.” and you put it out of your mind.

It’s time for supper, and this is where things start to go south. After sleeping on the plane, they are bouncing around the booth like ping pong balls on drugs. The server was grouchy and patrons were casting glances at you every time one of your darling angels made a peep (though, to be fair, the “But I wanted FRIES!” was less of a peep and more of a roar). The only one who isn’t making noise is the little guy with the weird throat who is now saying, “I don’t feel good.” This time your kiss registers his fever at 101⁰. The Perfect Vacation disappears as you look around the table and realize that each child is about to get the same bug. If there was any hope for salvage, it was shattered by a streak of light and a loud “BOOM!” as the storm finally arrives.

You want to cry. All the work you did seems for nothing. You have been a mom long enough to know that the kids will be sick for at least two days, if not more. You ask for your meal to go and head glumly to the car. You sit in the parking lot before starting your car and think. Slowly your indomitable spirit slays the disappointment dragon that threatens your peace. Briefly you consider just dosing up the child and going on to the park, but you don’t want to be known as “Typhoid Mom” who spread this bug throughout the park, putting other poor moms in the same state you’re in. Nope. You are amazing and thoughtful. Instead, a different plan emerges as you drive home. You got this. You aren’t going to let pestilence and plague ruin your vacation!

Step 1: When you get back to the hotel room, send the kids one by one into the shower. Time to get everyone comfortable.

Step 2: Get on your phone and find the nearest “everything” store that will deliver ASAP. Spend the next 20 minutes putting meds and soothing foods in your cart. You put one roll of wrapping paper, tape, and a bunch of little toys and games. You also include a cheap cooler.

Step 3: Find out what fun shows you can get through the hotel. Yes, pay-per-view might be a little pricey, but we are in Salvage Vacation Mode, and it will be cheaper than whatever you were going to spend at the park.

Step 4: Tell the kids the new plan: “Bobby is sick and we might not be able to go to the park tomorrow. We’ll see how he is in the morning. BUT…” you say quickly before they can get too pouty, “We have a new plan! We’re still going to have our vacation, but we are going to have it in here this uber-cool hotel room (because kids still think hotel rooms are neat. And frankly, many adults do too.)!”

Step 5: Whisk the delivery from the store into the bathroom so the kids can’t see. You smile slyly and say, “We have surprises, but you have to wait ‘til morning.” You might not feel upbeat—you wanted to go to the park too—but this was always about the kids, about making memories as a family.

Step 6: Tuck the kids in, each with a new little stuffed animal. This soothes a bit of their curiosity enough to go to sleep.

Step 7: Set up the medications and make a list of what you have and who’s got what. This will keep you organized and make sure each child stays as comfortable as possible.

Step 8: Wrap each child’s presents and put “AM” and “PM” on them. That is when they can open the next one.

Step 9: Write the schedule of fun—when there will be quiet time with a movie. When they will play balloon volleyball in the beds, when they will play the games, when they will use bubble stuff, etc. You know your kids and their ebbs and flows. Hopefully Bobby will wake up fine and you can go to the park. But just in case, you will still make wonderful memories with the kids.

Step 10: Dig to the bottom of the last bag. You see that special treat that is just for YOU? Take it out, take a breath, and enjoy. You earned this. Well done. This is going to be an excellent vacation.

By: Stephanie Reynolds

Athens-Limestone Tourism Association