Please consider this post as a “mental health break,” which I think everyone needs right about now. Also, thank you in advance for letting me share some of my photos.
Every year I take Bella to at least one of our great national parks (socialism at its finest!). This year’s trip happened to fall shortly after Sarah Palin dragged Piper around on her money seeking One Nation Bus Tour, er, “family vacation.” As I watched her trip unfold, my heart ached for Piper, who is close in age to Bella. While it gets harder to feel sorry for her as incidents of bratty behavior increase, I still feel for Piper since she is too young to know what a real family vacation should be like. With a sociopathic mother, she may never know “normal.” In an attempt to help Piper, I put forth these tips for Sarah as she plans the next leg of her bus tour. THIS is how real Americans take a road trip, Sarah:
1.) When you decorate your bus, don’t make it all about you.
2.) The goal of a good family vacation should not be to raise money. It should be to enjoy each other’s company, and make memories for the kids.
3.) Everybody goes. Staying home or leaving the vacation part of the way through is not an option. You can’t even leave to go home to fish. Here, Bella and her cousins explore Carhenge in Nebraska:
4.) Teach the kids about other cultures. We know how you feel about minorities, but tolerance will become ever more important as your kids move into adulthood.
5.) The kids should have to learn about all presidents, not just Reagan.
6.) Let them enjoy the scenery. Kids should not have to navigate paparazzi or sign autographs. Nor should they be used as a hard surface for you to sign autographs. They are kids. If you must satisfy your ego by signing autographs on a family vacation, leave them on the bus.
7.) Show them the national parks. I cannot stress this point enough. Bella and her cousins have a chant they say at every park:
“Who owns this park?”
“What did it look like 100 years ago?”
“Just like this!”
“What will it look like 100 years from now?”
“Just like this!”
It underscores the importance of conservation in terms even a child can understand. Here, Bella and a cousin stand outside the gate to Yellowstone:
Kids also need to learn how priorities change once you are surrounded by nature. Only the simple things matter. Your blackberries won’t even work in most parks, so you don’t have the stress of reading blogs to see if the truth has been revealed yet. Your only concerns will be to drink water, avoid too much sun and don't get lost.
Arches National Park:
A quote from one of my favorite movies of all time, “Grand Canyon,” sums up my feelings on our national parks nicely:
“You ever been to the Grand Canyon? It’s pretty, but that’s not the thing of it. You can sit on the edge of that big ol' thing and those rocks... the cliffs and rocks are so old... it took so long for that thing to get like that... and it ain't done either! It happens right there while you’re watching it. It’s happening right now as we are sitting here in this ugly town. When you sit on the edge of that thing, you realize what a joke we people really are... what big heads we have thinking that what we do is gonna matter all that much... thinking that our time here means diddly to those rocks. Just a split second we have been here, the whole lot of us. That's a piece of time so small to even get a name. Those rocks are laughing at me right now, me and my worries... Yeah, it’s real humorous, that Grand Canyon.”
You matter to Piper because you are her mom. Can’t you focus on that and stop worrying about whether you matter to the rest of us? Even for just a week for "family vacation?"
Mesa Verde National Park:
8.) Let the kids buy silly souvenirs. Spending time together as a family makes them happy, but nothing made Bella and her cousins as happy as the $60 we spent on rocks at the rock shop. Piper doesn’t need an $800 purse, when something as simple as rocks and sombreros works so well.
9.) Use pop culture trends to teach kids about landmarks and history. Planking is huge right now – all the kids are doing it. So let the kids have some safe fun doing something they think is cool, but while they do it, make them listen to your speech about how the interstates ruined small-town America and killed Rt. 66. Maybe you would have absorbed the Paul Revere story better if you had combined it with some fun.
10) Now listen carefully, Sarah, because this is a big one – and I do mean it in more way than one – take a hike!
I know how you love “hard work” – well the effort and journey of the hike almost always makes the destination more delicious. The 3 little dots on that big rock below are Bella and her cousins, raising their arms in joy at a job well done:
12.) Finally, never, ever quit.