Many moons ago when I was young and foolish my wife and I took our two children and an unruly yellow lab named Sandy on vacation. Then living in Oregon our vacation plan was to drive to Yellowstone National Park.
Being wrapped pretty tight at the time I wanted to maximize every moment. I noticed that our two young children and a dog barely out of puppyhood were not keeping to my schedule.
What was wrong with them? We had places to go. Old Faithful was waiting on us.
On the third day of our trip, already behind schedule, I gathered the troops and channeling my inner Patton, informed them that speed was of the essence: “At 0800 we’ll have breakfast. At 0900 we’ll begin to stow our gear and by 0930 we will commence to the route.”
My children ignored me. The dog chased a rabbit. My wife (who is smarter than me) took me aside and told me to ‘lighten up, smell the roses and stop being a pain in the caboose. We’ll get there when we get there’, she said.
Over the years I’ve gotten a little wiser. I’ve grown to realize that a family is a small community that gets by with a mix of compromise, forgiveness and humor.
I’ve been thinking about this as Tricia and I get ready for vacation. Both our daughters are grown and launched. Soon we’ll fly to visit our oldest in LA.
‘What do you want to do’? she asks. We reply: “We’re happy to sleep in, hang out and see your new neighborhood and talk. We’re just happy to be with you.”
General Patton will not join us for vacation. No forced marches. We’re simply content to be with the people we love.
I hope you too get some down time this summer. Time to simply be.