Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hey - It's Not Dumbo, But....

A few weeks ago I had one of those terrible epiphanies when I realized I was a horrible, horrible mom.

Now, I know my dear readers would probably disagree with that (and I humbly thank you), but alas…it’s true. I’ll explain why.

Many years ago, I took my oldest son – a huge history buff – on his “own” vacation to Gettysburg and the East coast. Just me and him - no siblings. During a week’s time, we immersed ourselves in military history – exploring museums and battlefields and witnessing reenactments. Son was thrilled.

A few years ago, we took our daughter – at the time, five years old – on the “Princess til’ You Puke” package tour of Disney World. Haven’t heard of that package? Why, slap a Disney princes costume on a little girl every day for a week, all the while eating and dining and riding with every character that Disney has to offer – until you’re about ready to puke from all the magic and sugary sweetness that Disney has to offer. Hubby and I were exhausted by the time that nightmare –oops, I mean “experience” – was over. Daughter was thrilled.

In between these “solo” trips, we’ve indulged our children in some pretty awesome family vacations – but as a “group” experience. You know the drill - we’ve shared a mini-van; we’ve shared motel rooms; and we’ve shared all the joys that siblings bring on a vacation - as in those wonderful "touching" moments that only happen between siblings.... ("Quit touching me!" "I'm NOT touching you!" "Yes, you are." "No, I'm NOT." And so on and so on and so on...500 miles down the road.)

And then, this summer, it hit me. I had horribly, horribly neglected my middle child. I had never taken him on HIS “own” vacation. Somehow – he had been forgotten. The overlooked, forgotten middle-child syndrome. Oops. I am a horrible mother.

Time to rectify that. So – I set up a weekend trip to Norman, OK – which, in my son’s mind, is the equivalent – if not 10x better – than Disney World and Gettysburg combined. It’s the paradise on earth that he dreams about every night – and has for many, many years. (Don't ask me why - it makes no sense to me. I cannot explain it.)

So, here we are in Norman…his “solo” trip. We took a tour of the campus yesterday – shopped at the OU bookstore – watched some sorority girls playing in a charity basketball game – and we’re getting ready for the big football game this afternoon against Baylor. We’ll be in the stadium – in the end zone – with 82,000 other crazy, rabid fans. And the icing on the cake? We found out last night that Sam Bradford WILL be playing today. Yowza.

Life doesn’t get much better for my 16-year old son. Hey – it’s not Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. It’s not the Dumbo ride at Disney World. But to my son – it’s everything. He’s happy. And that makes me happy. This is what a happy 16-year old looks like - a rare moment - see that big smile?


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