What I Learned on My Vacation

My kid is a f*&$ing stud.

That’s really the biggest lesson that I learned. And, that I don’t give him nearly enough credit for being able to handle big challenges. Let me explain.

We have recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic. However, what looked like the dream vacation almost didn’t happen. The night before the trip, I went online to print out our boarding passes and discovered that our flight had been canceled. Not only that, we had been rerouted without ANY regard for our connecting flight to Punta Cana. American Airlines was going to send us to New York, but made no effort to get us to our final destination.

I was seeing red.

After five hours on the phone with “customer service,” we were booked on a new flight and, except for the 4:30 wake-up the following day, we were good to go. Or so we thought.

We arrived at the airport only to discover that we weren’t booked on the new flight at all. We weren’t booked on any flight. And for the next several hours, it looked like we weren’t going to make it to Punta Cana or anywhere. Thanks to the Patron Angel Saint of American Airlines – a soul/sole savior – we were finally on our way.  We spent NINE hours at SFO and not a single sound of dissent from K-Man. Not one. F*&$ing stud.

That was just the beginning.

We still had to fly to JFK. We still had to get to the crappy airport hotel (which required a mind-numbing 30-minute wait for the shuttle). We still had to get back up, get dressed and get back to the airport after only four hours of sleep (for the second consecutive night). We still had to wait another two hours for our flight at JFK. And we STILL had the four-hour flight to the Dominican Republic. Not a single complaint from the kid. He just sat with the iPad and watched movies, or walked around the airport checking things out. He loved every minute of the insane 29-hour adventure. And that was just to get there.

I couldn’t believe it. His attitude and ability to adapt to a constantly changing condition (we’re on a flight, we’re off a flight, we’re on a flight, we’re off a flight and so on) was simply amazing. He had more perspective in those 29 hours than I certainly did, “But, we are going to get there, right, Daddy?” He was right. We were going to get there, and when we did – those 29 hours were a distant, distant memory.

There are so many new possibilities, it seems. Europe, for starters. He can handle it. He WANTS to handle it. Again, that’s just the travel. The things he tried – archery, snorkeling, kayaking, TRAPEEZE! and more – while we were in the Dominican Republic were equally eye-catching. Yes, sometimes it took him a while to warm up to the idea of something, but he was always willing to give it a go…whatever “it” was.

I realized on this trip that I protect him too much. I don’t give him enough credit for being able to handle things. I sometimes don’t encourage him to try things that I think might hurt him. I didn’t want him to play soccer in the rain (on a basketball court) because I thought he might slip and fall. Of course, after watching how much fun he was having, I ran out to play with him and had a blast. (Even though I’M the one who ultimately fell. Dumbass!)

I want the kid to try things and lead a life of adventure. I tell him to do that. And, it turns out…I’ve been standing in his way. Sorry, K-Man. Thanks for opening my eyes. Again.

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