I think I should begin this by point out that now that I've been home for over a week, I can't really remember vacation so I'm not sure that I learned anything. But, since I promised all and sundry that I'd extrapolate a little, I'll do my best.
*When you stress about how well a 15 month old will handle a 7 hour flight, don't forget that the three other people related to her will find new and incredible ways to freak you out.
*I hate air conditioning. There, I've said it. Even when it was ridiculously hot and humid, I wanted to throw open the doors and windows and bask in the heat. Sure, it's nice to escape from the insanity by hiding in the mall, car or house, but I have come to realise that I actually like feeling the seasons. Sweat marks be damned.
*There is nothing like diners. Good old fashioned diners where at lunch time you can order pancakes for your 4 year old, a grilled cheese for your 8 year old, chicken noodle soup for a princess, mashed potatoes and meatloaf for the littlest one, and a nice big fat Reuben sandwich for yourself. All with a never ending glass of mixed ice tea and lemonade. This is what I call a happy meal.
*I'm secretly hoping that one day Hubster gets an expat deal to the US just so we can buy a Mustang convertible, an industrial style gas grill, more running shoes than I can dream of, and a Malamute puppy from one of my favourite breeders in Colorado.
*Family is tough because no matter what we think about each other, the problem is that we are all very, very much alike. There's a beauty in knowing that. And that's where this love is so amazing. I hope we continue fighting and forgiving for years to come.
*My high school friends are the people I have always hoped they'd be. Made even better by their spouses and their children.
*My college friends are the people I've always needed them to be. Thank God they still "get" me after all these years. I only hope I can return the favour.
*My kids have decided after an afternoon in Target, that America is the greatest place on earth.
*Jet lag sucks. In both directions.
*As much as I liked "Thriller" back in the day, it's killing me how often the tribe is singing 'Beat it.' Seven hours of Michael Jackson to the US and then 6 hours of Michael Jackson home. Who needs movies when you can air guitar to this morsel for hours on end? And the worst part? They still haven't figured out all the words. "Na-na-nana-na, na na na na. BEAT IT!" Someone shoot me.
*All the excitement, all the planning, all the stress for those fabulous three weeks and WHAMO. It's done. Here I sit, back at home, as if I'd never left. The memories are there and I loved it all, but wow. It's over. I only hope that when we die, it's a bit like this. We sit next The Big Guy/Gal and say, "Boy, that was fun."
*I got to run with my middle sister and hang with my parents. I ate steamed crabs with my fish fearing sister and drink Sam Adams Summer Ale with my brother-in-laws. I got to laugh with my nieces and nephews and get eaten alive by mosquitoes with the other important women in my life. I got to be reminded of who I was and where I'm from and see how that all meshes into where I'm going.
All things being said and done, I think Tim Vine, the winner of the Best Joke at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, has the best thing to say about such a vacation en famille:
"I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime-holiday, I'll tell you what, never again."