My Dad had an interesting way of handling these things. When my siblings and I would be screaming, fighting, and crying with no end in sight, he would call a cease-fire and ask us what happened. Of course, we each had our own version of the truth. And as you would expect, we blamed each other.
When it became clear it was nothing more than silly sibling squabbling, my Dad would make each one us stand in opposite corners of the room and forbid us to look at each other, or worse, laugh.
Well, you and I both know what happens when you’re told NOT to do something – it’s what you WANT to do most! So, it was just a matter of time, usually seconds, before we’d sneak peaks at each other, giggle, and go into hysterics. By the time we caught our breaths, we no longer cared who or what the argument was about.
Clutching our bellies, we promised to play nicely if Dad let us leave from our corners. A big smile spread across his face and he’d nod. And that’s how it was done.
When my kids were younger, if things got out of hand and I was too frazzled to do the “Go-In-The-Corner” method, I used Time-outs. It seemed to give everyone the chance to cool off a little (including me). Then we’d reconvene and talk it out.
As kids get older, not all conflicts are resolved that easily. Nor does the peace always last. I’ve learned to appreciate those moments when no one is fighting. And sometimes, for no reason, I put myself in a Time-out. It’s really nice there.
When I go on vacation, it feels like my home life freezes and time stands still. The only things that matter are, A) I survived the plane flight, B) I’m with my family, and C) I’m some place warm and sunny, or at least has good shopping. I always go with the lofty notion that I will make some profound discovery in myself or make a change for the better and come home renewed or reborn. I make lists of things I want to do or need to fix. I create projects for myself. It’s all very inspiring. And then I come home to find I’m 99% the same person as when I left. (The 1% may be a pound or two, in either direction.) But, I always remain hopeful.
Here are 10 things I discovered last week on vacation:
Most of these have to do with food. I’m sure you’re not surprised.
1. I expand my culinary repertoire – I found I like Soba noodles and Black Cod.
2. I need my fix – I get pouty if dark chocolate isn’t available. I found myself sucking on the dark cookie of an Oreo, because they only had Twix and 3 Musketeers in the mini-bar. Not a proud moment.
3. I appreciate the little things – Butter is a delicacy. Salty or sweet. I’m easy to please.
4. I appreciate the big things – Being near the ocean soothes my soul, in a way that chocolate never will. And I’m OK with that.
5. I like to rest – Sometimes the occasional nap after lunch (like we used to do in kindergarten) is a good thing.
6. I’m picky – I don’t like rum, and I don’t like gin. But, a vodka mojito is divine.
7. I make mistakes – I forgot to pack my toothbrush and my arsenal of medicine (I am usually ready, willing and able to tend to any ailment known to man).
8. I am happiest in the water – I must be part fish or mermaid and I can swim for hours. While in the ocean I’m on hyper vigilant shark watch.
9. I lower my standards – I will eat certain cookies on vacation that I would never touch at home.
10. I let my inhibitions run wild – I will strut my stuff on the beach without a care in the world as to what my stomach or thighs look like. On vacay, I simply don’t care anymore. (Cheers to getting older!)
What did you learn about yourself on your most recent vacation? And if it was just a new cocktail, that’s OK too.