Surprise! I'm a single parent

road trip
July 16, 2010, 6:43 pm
Filed under: whatever

We were getting ready to visit Rotorua for the first time.The kids are now of an age where I think they should be able to take an active park in packing. I was trying to get them thinking about what they’d need.

Me: what if we are driving over the desert road and its snowing – and we want to make a snow man. What do we need to have packed?

13 year old: A remote controlled robot.

8 year old: Brownies. And boy scouts.

I’m teaching them girl packing skills not Boy packing. Girl packing is thinking about what you might need and packing for eventualities (might be hot, might be cold, might go out to dinner, might need walking boots…)

My girlfriend visits every winter, she has 17 year old twins, a boy and a girl. Every year the boy packs …. well almost nothing. We go out to dinner he is wearing surfer shorts, t shirt and sneakers.  We go to a play hes wearing the same thing. He is cold.  The girl has a different outfit for most of the stuff we do.  She is warm, water repellent, wind resistant.I admire that my girlfriend does not feel she has to pack for her son as I think I would break down and do it for him or spend huge sums getting him warm.

Anyway the girls ended up packing well and we had a great road trip up the island. The eldest suggested we borrow talking books from the library and what a great suggestion. Rotorua was sunny and much warmer than Wellington – it has been one of the wettest winters ever and it was so good to see blue sky. It made such an impression on us we even photographed cloud formations.

When we arrived we grabbed lots of brochures, set a budget and then picked the activities we’d do. The girls made good suggestions about dinner and lunches we could make ourselves and negotiated well about what they’d like to see and do. Its been a trying time lately and when things go wrong with my kids I often think it must be because I’m a fundamentally flawed parent. Seeing them acting like well adjusted bright happy kids was a great tonic. The whole break made me realize that holidays can be very affirming.

I got some bad news when we came back to town and Ive have been experiencing that kind of physical sadness you get with grief. I think it would be worse if I hadn’t been away – so I’m starting to plan our next escape