"If it isn't one thing--it's another! It's always something.” Thus spake Gilda Radnor (SNL circa 1970s) as Roseanna Roseanadana. I think of that line now as summer vacations loom. Some of us may loll on beaches or travel the country without our children and grandchildren. Others of us, though, are planning intergenerational get-togethers. In today's new normal, we may find our vacations afflicted by canceled flights, positive Covid readings or last-minute schedules/obligations of our adult children, their spouses or their children.
We can't control any of the above. But there is stuff we can. One of them is space. If we're picking up the tab for an oceanside beach house, a chalet in the mountains or a campsite in the woods, think big. Rent as spacious a place as you can afford. There's nothing like enough bedrooms to go around or an extra alcove where someone can chill out and take the edge off the inevitable stress of being together on a family vacation.
I make this point in a previous post on family vacations and in an article that ran in Next Avenue. More recently, I'm backed up on the space issue by Karl Pillemer, a sociologist and gerontologist at Cornell whose research focuses on intergenerational relations. In a piece in the NYTimes, Pillemer suggests physical distance is important in reducing family tensions. While he is addressing the stresses of holiday visits, what he says about "taking some space" is relevant to vacations as well. "The goal is to focus on underreacting--and stepping away when you need a break."
paintings: Henri Matisse