I started out packing for our week-long family vacation at Moose Lake Resort the same way I always do. With great expectations.
I will NOT over pack. I will NOT over pack.
I figured if I repeated it enough times, it would stick. After surveying my daughter’s two modest piles of clothes for all 8 days, I felt victorious! I had done it. I hadn’t thrown every bathing suit she owned into the pile. Four would be enough and if not, I could probably convince one of the other moms to do our laundry if I got her drunk enough.
Yeah, I’m that person. “Oh, really, you don’t mind? Oh my god! You are such a doll! Give me your glass while you go separate the lights and darks and I’ll pour more wine…”
So I moved onto my son’s closets. I managed not to pack every single t-shirt and pairs of shorts he owned, although admittedly both kids brought high double digits of underpants in case of accidents.
Surprisingly, my big packing issue didn’t end up being my clothes, nor was it my tendency to Imelda Marcos (used as a verb, of course) my shoes (one pair per hour, right?)
Instead, I struggled with how many electronic devices to bring. It was a family vacation, our first in a year, so I was bound and determined to chill out with my favorite peeps completely unplugged.
After all, I had spent most of my year writing articles that taught fabulously wealthy moms how to keep away from gadgets during their own monthly family yacht vacays or luxury VIP stays at Cinderella’s castle at Disney. I could probably power down for one week deep in the woods in Minnesota, right?
WRONG! Oh, so, so wrong.
Within the first minute of our excursion, I was Uber’ing for a car. It was 4AM and there was no way I was walking my tired ass down two blocks with two half asleep kids and 4 duffle bags*.
So after using my iPhone to request a car large enough to fit all of our crap, and my less than good mood at being up before the sun, we’re were off. At the airport, we calmed the kids with their iPads.** But that was them, not me!
Well…I might have accidentally pulled out my cell a couple (hundred) times to check Facebook, emails, the weather where we were headed, work, etc. But I swore to myself up, down, and sideways, the minute we got off that plane in Minneapolis, I would be done with my gadgets for good.
Ok, fine. The minute we finished our 5-hour drive up to Moose Lake Resort*** in Bemidji from Minneapolis, I would absolutely, positively promise not to check one email, Instagram, or text message! Facebook would just have to miss me for a few days, and forget it Twitter. My tweeps would have to comment in 140 characters or less without @myplaygrounddrt from Saturday thru Saturday.
As we drove into the resort, I remembered why we picked this place. It was beautiful. Our rented SUV looked ridiculous driving through the dirt and pebbled paths that snaked through the huge pines. I made the kids turn off the DVD player blaring from the backseat so they could take it all in (and Howard Stern wasn’t coming in over Sirius that well anyway because we were in the middle of nowhere, so I figured it was as good a time as any to enjoy the view.)
We pulled up to our cabin that sat right on the edge of a picture-perfect lake that was outlined with cattails and lily pads. The magnificence of it all made me wonder if a week would even be enough time for me to shake off all the stress of constant digital communication. At that moment, I thought I could do it. I could put my laptop, my iPad, and my iPhone away and just turn off. Who needed to talk to me that badly anyway? Who am I? The President? One of the Real Housewives who has never been married? I mean, really? I could log off and life would probably go on.
But suddenly, I realized why that was just never going to happen. As I walked into our little cabin in the woods, a warm glow came over me when I peered into the corner of the room and saw the most glorious sight.
It was a TV.
And it had DirecTV. And it worked! And the cabin had more outlets than any cabin in the woods ever should.
And the fuses never blew! THE FUSES NEVER BLEW!
Ahh, fuck it all. The truth is, I literally had my cell, iPad and laptop out the entire time I was gone****. I had a picture in my head of being back-to-basics Jo, but I simply couldn’t stay away from my toys. To put it in junior high terms, technically, I was an epic failure.
So, years from now, when my kids can only speak in HTML and TV show quotes, the doctors (and my in-laws) will know exactly who to blame.
A few notes:
*Since United tried to charge me an extra $100 for having a suitcase that was exactly 2 pounds over the weight limit on my way home from New York in May, I decided to pack one bag per person even though we didn’t need all 4, as allowed by the shitty airline, and fill it with as many cars, trucks, toys and American Girl dolls, right to, but not above, the 50 pound mark. That’s how I get my jollies these days.
**Ok, I knew my kids were going hi-tech on this vacation regardless of any hopes I had that they would suddenly want to play pretend in the mud, catch their dinner from the lake, and spend all day barefoot and telling each other how much they love being brother and sister. Unfortunately, my kids love anything that comes with a screen (just like mommy) and they expect those screens to follow them everywhere. And if they don’t follow them everywhere, the following will happen:
- The world will end.
- They will scream for a week straight.
- They will not eat for days.
- Mommy will have a nervous breakdown.
For these reasons, I chose not to experience child-device separation, however I have to note that my kids opted to spend 85% of their vacation doing non-screen related activities. Yes, that does factor in sleeping, eating and pooping.
***Moose Lake Resort is probably one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever vacationed and if you have a chance to spend a week with your family, I highly suggest doing it there! They have dozens of activities from waterskiing (yes, I got my butt up on one ski for the first time in 18 years), paddle boarding, canoeing, fishing, boating, an adorable playground for the kids, a game room, a golf course–seriously, you name, they have it. We had s’mores by the campfire at night, read books by the lake during the day, and watched the sun rise over the lake in the morning. (This is not a paid placement. I did not receive anything in exchange for this mention–I just really loved my vacation.)
****Mom, I swear, I never got your text messages.