The first thing any family needs on vacation, as seen by my eight-year-old, is twenty-three stuffed animals. So, when packing for vacation, make sure you have at least one suitcase devoted to those stuffed animals. Except for Ryan the Giraffe, Fred the Unicorn, and Louise—a stuffed animal that smells like bad decisions you made in college. And that’s all the things that my youngest son needs for vacation.
My fifteen-year-old daughter though, lets my youngest son know that he is doing it all wrong. Stuffed animals are for babies. What you really want to pack for vacation is everything, we have to take everything, what if we forget her docs and there’s a cute boy? And how can I expect her to pack with only three suitcases?
She needs a trunk, like she’s seen in old movies. And more than one trunk. She needs a shoe trunk, a trunk for cute summer tops, a sweater trunk in case it gets cold, and exactly one trunk totally dedicated to her Instagram.
My middle son, the thirteen-year-old, needs exactly nothing. Yup, not a thing. No toothbrush, no deodorant, no pants, no socks, and what are shoes anyway? Honestly, he’s surprised that we are going on vacation and claims that this is the first time he has heard of any such thing. How rude.
It would be nice if I told him these things other than the three thousand times, I told him we are going on vacation. He grabs his toothbrush and declares he’s ready to board a plane. I remind him that we should put pants on first.
When my wife takes over the packing, I breathe a sigh of relief. Then she hits the medicine cabinet while ignoring all the clothes. We need to bring something in case I get the poops. Maybe she should call her mother and talk about my bowel movements with her and formulate a plan. And the economy jar of aspirin, that has to go. And Tums.
Do they sell Tums where we are going? Probably not, better stop on the way to the airport and grab more Tums. Now that the Tums issue is handled, let’s get back to the pooping packing. What if I can’t go to the bathroom? Well, we need some stuff for that. She’s got three different brands that work differently, depending on what day of the week it is.
My youngest kid’s friend down the street has his own opinions on what we should pack for vacation. What about the dryer? Better take that because you never know when you’re going to get wet. No one likes getting wet. It’s ok to be stinky so we don’t need to take the washer but try to get the dryer.
I am informed that I can probably check it at the airport so it’s easier to carry. Now, it’s time to discuss the stuffed animal issue. Is my youngest son really bringing enough? What about that one that he hasn’t seen since he was three but would probably like to go along. I should spend the next hour in a frantic search to make sure we have that one.
As everyone can see, my family is going completely nuts and has forgotten all the essentials. For example, no one thought to pack duct tape. It’s a complete and utter failure of packing. The omission of duct tape makes me question if my family could ever survive a zombie apocalypse.
Not that this is what is in our future, but I prefer to be prepared just in case. Not to mention that no one is packing a disguise kit. I mean, this is packing 101. Given who my children are and what they are capable of, I find it handy to have a 1940s level spy kit handy for those quick getaways. I never know when they might insult a mobster or a political exile who vows revenge. I’m just saying it’s easier to make a quick exit if no one knows what you look like.
Regardless of what we pack, this is our first trip in a year and a half. After being in lockdown for so long, dealing with the grind of school, and so many frustrations, as long as I have them all with me, we will be fine. Because on this vacation, that’s what I really want. I want a safe and happy family smiling next to me as I take them to see the World’s Largest Chicken Wing.
Which reminds me, I probably need to pack some barbecue sauce.
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