Our newly re-acronymed child, SOS (source of sanity) needs to go back to TLP (the little prince), at least for a little while.
On Saturday night, we hunkered down after checking in on all local relatives who might need help. TLP wondered why we couldn’t camp out at the beach like his cousin, his aunt and his other grandfather (not my dad). (In fact, to add insult to injury, we made him come home from visiting them at the beach in anticipation of the hurricane.)
They aren’t camping actually.
In fact, they didn’t intend to “camp”, since they live in a perfectly lovely house in East Hampton. We tried to explain that Hurricane Irene could cause downed power lines and flooding, which would then lead to “indoor camping” by necessity and not by choice.
TLP thought it would an important manly experience, except he forgot that he is a (little) man who likes his amenities, let alone “essentials” like TV, computer access, running water, flushing toilets, etc.
You get the picture. He knows what he wants until he realizes that it is not at all what he wants. Until that eureka moment, he has the determination of . . . of . . . well, POB (partner of blogger). Genes are a boomerang.
It is ok that he is not so self-aware of his lack of earthiness. He is only 9 years old.
Sunday dragged on and on. TLP couldn’t really focus on the usual mind-numbing TV because he wanted to go back out to the beach. The hurricane washed out our week at the beach, at least initially. When the owners of our rental called to say that the power was out and there was flooding on the property, TLP became inconsolable. Ok, ok, ok, ok, his entire life up to this point has been a vacation. It is I, I, I, I, I, I, who needs a vacation. Me, me, me, me, me. (It may be important to note that I am ranting here and not TLP. I can see how you might be confused.)
POB needs some time away, too, but she has had the summer off so, this year at least, a week at the beach is more tradition and less a sanity-saving device.
I had already started looking at other options. Of course, anything west required a plane and airports were backlogged. Going south was clearly a non-starter since that was the trajectory of the storm.
Northwest, maybe. Lake George. Aaah, the Sagamore. I loved the Sagamore years ago, even though tennis whites were required on the courts and I had to buy clothes in the gift shop. What does a New York Jew know about tennis whites? Oh, yeah, Wimbledon. But that is in England. Oh, wait! These people descend from those who came from England. Ahhhh.
I called the hotel and they had available condos, etc. So, maybe they allow lavender on the tennis courts? After all, these are trying economic times.
I took down the information and said I would call back, because I needed to confirm with POB that she was ok with all goyim all the time at a WASPy retreat. POB has some of that blood line in her so I figured her first question would be ask what would there be for us to eat, because clearly she understands the differences in the traditions. We don’t drink martinis and we don’t eat honey-roasted bar nuts (we eat healthy, raw nuts). Clearly, we would starve. In fact, she did ask, and I looked at her with the “after all these years, you think I can’t read your mind” look. In a calm, but slightly hurt voice (intending to get some martyr points), I told her about the condos with full kitchens that we could stock up in case we couldn’t recognize any of the food.
I guarantee you the first thing anyone at the Sagamore would think upon seeing our family is not, “oh, Jews”. Especially when they see my accidentally too-severe Janet Napolitano (US secretary of something) style of haircut (thank you, IFOB (Italian friend of blogger) for drawing that parallel). In fact, I was betting on an upgrade to the furthest and possibly nicest available condo on the property. We would get the privacy we want and, if they were particularly freaked out, I planned to ask about Shabbat services. Hell, they would offer in-condo dining, absolutely free. Grand slam homer for a patched-together vacation, if you ask me.
My delusions of vacation were interrupted when I called back to book the reservation. In the 6 hours between my calls, Hurricane Irene had hit them hard. That area was not supposed to be really affected. I felt bad for my gloating over the dyke-Jew plague I was going to bring on them. So, we’ll go there sometime soon, when my hair grows out and we will pay full price. It is the least we can do.
Ok, no vacation plans. And the boy who earns the acronym TLP is inconsolable. So, today, Day 3 of When Havoc Struck The Blogger Family, we set out to the train museum in Danbury, Connecticut. POB and I decided we needed a road trip and we needed to ease TLP into the staycation reality. He was happy and POB and I were relieved to have him immersed in something. And the trains were pretty cool, I have to say.
Tonight, we got word that our rented house will be in reasonable shape on Wednesday. TLP is over the moon. We are all relieved as well because it is good to get away. Still, we have tomorrow.
Using some of my martyr points, I have cleared a Blogger mental health and physical wellness morning tomorrow, which means I get to run and look at the river for a while before we all have lunch. Then, on to preparations for the delayed vacation.
I am thinking of showing TLP pictures of the damage caused by the hurricane and some pictures from Tripoli so he understands that life is not always a vacation. I just don’t know when is the right time to introduce reality into a happy (and privileged) childhood. I don’t want to scar him, but I want him to be grateful that we and none of our family was irreparably harmed in a natural disaster that claimed lives and livelihoods of so many. I want him to have empathy, but I don’t want him to be afraid of what life throws in our path. I want him to learn to “roll with it”. I want him to understand his good fortune. Maybe these are not 9 year-old thoughts and ideas. Maybe that is too much to put on someone so young.
Parents out there: HELP!!!