Remember this game? We used to play it in the car on road trips. Starting with the letter ‘A’, and taking turns, we all had to go through the alphabet and think of a food we’d like to bring in the event we were going on a picnic. Each person was meant to remember everything mentioned previously and then come up with a creative food for the next letter in line. The funny thing is, we never really did go on a picnic, did we? With a weird memory for these kinds of games plus the love of all things word-related and a certain crazy competitive gene, I’d will myself to win. Nevertheless, there is something to be said for the end justifying the means.
Like, let’s say my parents ever DID take us for a long ride to get to a picnic…this is the building I would want to be at the end of the journey. Eating a picnic on the grassy area next to the most awesome giant picnic basket building ever would surely have made an impact as far as road trip with mom and dad went.
There are other trips as I child that I think could have had a better impact on me if the trip were somehow or in some way connected to what we were going to do at the end of the ride. Perhaps giving us tons of Lego pieces and create contests for hours long until we reached Lego-land. I mean, it took 24 hours to drive from New Jersey to Florida and the one time we drove I have vivid memories of being constantly jabbed in my ample side by my bony-elbowed brother and being forced to take 5 in a sort-of-not-really-wooded area off I-95. I can’t recall being more petrified of someone spotting me amid scant greenery or possibly having a leaf touch my bum. That trip did NOT take us to Lego-land. It did however take us through Georgia where I somehow ended up with a key-chain that said, “we’re peachy” but I didn’t actually eat any peaches. So there you have it.
Since there is no concept of a Sunday here in Israel we don’t get the chance (*and more importantly can’t afford) to go on many big-ticket item trips. However, I have found that sometimes even the free or random splurge makes for a major memory saver, as long as there is a point. This summer, as the kids are a bit older, I have managed to save myself from spending thousands of shekels on childcare but still played it pretty conservatively with the activities and money spent on leisurely fun. Truth be told my summers as a child were filled with tons of lazy days armed with a magnifying glass hunting for ants (which I realize is awful) but I was happy, not bored. I didn’t need to be taken to amazing water parks and on holiday vacations to far off islands (though that would have been cool). I want to make sure that when I spend my money on fun activities for my children that they will remember the point of the trip not just the fact that I took off for the day to catch up with them (though that too has merit).
So this summer was filled with birthday celebrations which included bowling for the boys (organized by one of the guys), a restaurant dinner for Mommy – with gluten-free options (for the small one) and a home-baked (read Duncan Hines) double layered red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting (as per his request).
A day at the Safari which included driving our own car past zebras, ostriches, urinating rhinos, lions and tigers and bears oh my! We climbed and hiked to see gorillas, baboons, lemurs and chimps. We saw bats and turtles and an iguana. We saw giraffe’s eating leaves, we watched a really great show with amazing and talented actors and then grandma and grandpa bought us ice cream.
There were swimming days at the hotel with the grandparents, a whole month of camp, lots of movie nights and there is still talk of a camping trip which may or may not include a beach day (I see more laundry in my future) so I think it was a really great way to spend their 2 months off from school. Just enough activity to keep them busy and enough down time to rest their weary brains from math problems and memorizing spelling words. Their skin is golden and their hair is fairer and at the end of the day I think the pictures will remind them they had a great time.
And if not I will remind THEM how I waited on line for almost 40 minutes to get them their free fancy balloons in the flower, heart and sword shapes of their choice, at the park day held by the local police/fire men. While they jumped on the spinning thing, got their picture taken to get their free magnet and got shpritzed by the fire engine’s water display I waited with other people’s whining children. And when my own came to me complaining that they wanted to eat something, I dug down into my purse and found the cut up apples and crackers I thought to pack just in case. While that’s a far cry from the picnic of my dreams, there was fruit and a grassy area so it was sort of the same. Perhaps one day there will be a massive giant building in the shape of a bubble bath that I can drive to, where they give free foot massages and manicures to all mothers. One day…one day…