If the fortunes granted me millions, I would set up a charitable foundation that endows stools to public restrooms.
We just spent two weeks visiting family and friends in California, which means I hoisted my 41-pound, 4.5-year-old up to sinks – dirty ones, wet ones, fancy ones, even a port-a-john one – in approximately 743 public toilets. Only a slight exaggeration. I get so excited when we find a stool or a low sink, I think of leaving a "Bless You!" note.
Perhaps, though, my imaginary money would be better spent granting chick weekends to weary women and mommy vaycays for mom's just returning from the long family trip. Imagine deplaning with the family, kissing each sweet face good-bye, and heading to another gate and another city – a city where there are no theme parks. Maybe the escape is as simple as 24-hours in a dark room stocked with George Clooney DVDs and Tylenol PM. That would work for me.
The theme of a girl's weekend I took a couple of years ago with my best friend, a mother of two, became "Because I Can,'' as in "I think I will sprawl on this bed and read ... because I can'' and "I think I'll have a glass of wine at 2 p.m. ... because I can.''
There was little "Because I Can'' on this trip and mucho "Mami, please.''
Our California family vacation was, for sure, magical and wonderful and memorable. My daughter saw harbor seals on the beach, sniffed sweet citrus dropping from backyard trees and, for the first time, walked the beautiful Sonoma County land on which her father grew up. My husband and I ate delicious food, drank good wine, and stayed up late with old friends. Lots of gratitude.
But, all the togetherness also meant we were on duty for 14 consecutive days with rare breaks. No other room to escape to, no "quick errand'' to run. Not even the privacy of our own bed: "Mami, Daddy, hotel beds are three-person beds."
Maria has had a passport since she was 7-months-old. She is a Triple-A rated traveler. She also is supremely chatty. Questions and pronouncements are her specialty. It is enchanting and hilarious and all that, except in hour 5 on the plane or hour 2.45 in the car. Maria also is persistent. She will repeat requests over and over despite our acknowledgements or kaboshes, just in case we accidentally didn't get her the first time. Or the 15th time.
These qualities will make my daughter a fabulous 25-year-old – amiable, direct and bold. At least I can hope, right? If she sounds like a PITA, please note she only messes with her parents and has at least 967 awesome qualities. There will be many more opportunities to sweeten you to her, but right now since I'm in a real bad way about finding a little Own Self Time, my momentary focus is on the roar that's been in my ear for a couple of weeks straight. And, it's summer. There is no pre-school, no camp, no standing play-dates. I still have to unpack. I know you feel my pain, for on our 1,200-mile ride, we saw plenty of tired traveling women experiencing toddler tantrums and the chorus of "no, no, no.''
Given that there is no Tired Ass Mom Vacation Foundation (and no chick weekend on the books over here) the immediate recoup might just have to be nap during the kid's Dora time or The Travel Channel and a buttery Chardonnay in the den after everyone else's bedtime.
Here's hoping George is On Demand.
And, if you want to fund those foundations, let me know.