Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Zero-Depth Stress

We have abandoned real life for artificial life in Wisconsin Dells. I didn't even check email for three days, and my cell phone has only intermittent coverage. That's what I call roughing it!

I'm watching other parents with their children, playing in the zero-depth pools, floating leisurely down the lazy river, bobbing wildly in the wave pool--and they all look engaged, happy, attentive, loving. I don't hear any moms screeching, "Stop that right now!" or looking like their 2.5 perfect children are on their last nerve. I don't see any dads checking their watches or working on laptops. I haven't even seen one tiny tot temper tantrum, or any sibling squabbles.

This is how I know it's not real life. Not to be cynical or anything, but seriously. Maybe it's different back in the condos--maybe that's where it looks a little more like reality. But I'll bet even behind the mini-blinds things are calmer, friendlier, more even-tempered. At least, they are in 104-B.

Vacation gives us a chance to hang out, play, have fun, relax, and enjoy the company of the people that we love the most--without the ineluctable burdens of bills, broken appliances, deadlines, and dirty dishes. We can be on our best behavior--be engaged with our kids, be patient, be unselfish with our time and energy--because we don't have the crappy stuff sapping us physically, mentally, emotionally.

Thank God for vacation. Thanks, God. (Also, thanks Grandmom and Granddad.)

But what about people who don't have time or resources to afford a real get-away type vacation? I'll bet if you studied families who went on regular vacations and those who didn't that the vacationing families would score better on a family system function evaluation than non-vacationing families. Research that, would you?

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