Girls Write Out
Friday, July 16, 2010

How does your family make connections? They say that we gravitate to the familiar, which is why kids who grow up in abusive homes, often find an abuser of their own later in life to "fix" things. Hmm. But my husband grew up camping, and that's how he and his family connected. On some brutal trail mastering the universe. Whatever. My family bonded over good food and nice hotels.

May I just state that there was no bait and switch. I was not He-man when we dated, and though I did give into camping on many occasions with the kids, I never enjoyed it. Not even when pregnant on my birthday with no running water and my church friends decorated my tent. But that was the closest I came. Because there was no brutal hike or "Survivor" tests. Other than the outhouse when pregnant, that is.

My family is going in the RV this week. Without me. I am working. This whole summer has been driving my kids to their events, and work has taken a backseat. So I get the whole week to work. Yesterday, my daughter came to me and said, "Mom, I wish you were coming in the RV."

I said, "Really Elle, do you really wish that?"

She thinks about it for awhile and then says, "No, you ruined it last time. We had to come home early." LOL

I have had one "rule" on my vacation requirements. I will not go anywhere that my BlackBerry doesn't work. Because that means I am in the middle of nowhere, and I really have no desire to ever be that out of touch from people. Yet, it seems every single year, I am in the middle of nowhere with no way to connect to the outside world and I spend every single day of my life in the car connecting with the kids, so how exactly is that a vacation?

So I connect by listening to my kids. By asking questions, by discussing all aspects of lives and what they see in other people's lives. I don't need to be amongst the dirt to do that. So while it may look dysfunctional that I'm missing the family RV trip (and very well may be) I have lived through it enough to know that I hate to camp. And that little fact is going to overtake any good parts of "connection" and edge closer to the resentment factor. Suffering for no reason is just that. Like I said, there was no bait and switch. I was driving a Mustang Convertible, had my nails done weekly and marketed a shopping mall for a living. Where would someone get the idea that I'd turn into Annie Oakley?

What's your favorite way to connect with your family? Incidentally, I'm connecting with my best friend for vacation. In Mexico.

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posted at 2:26 PM  
  Comments (11)
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At 3:40 PM, Blogger Tricia said...

Okay, that's really funny! I am leaving in a week for two weeks in the RV with my kids and hubby and I CAN'T WAIT! I love being outside in nature where my phone does not work and no one can find me but my family! I am not a big fan of the hiking though. To each their own!

BTW, I am also a big fan of hotel weekends with the girlfriends! :) I consider myself well rounded ;)

Enjoy your week alone. THAT sounds fabulous!

At 4:14 PM, Blogger Hannah Alexander said...

I love the weekend with girlfriends, Kris, but you know I'm also a lunatic for hiking. But at night? Let me sleep in a soft bed with hot and cold running water and AC. Or heat. Depending on the time of year.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I actually like to hike, and do it by myself here. I just don't think of it as connection time, unless it's connection with God. I like quiet hikes with music in my ears -- not kids complaining behind me. But I also can hike right here in the city. Hello California!

At 10:23 PM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

I was just thinking the other day about how with my family, instead of going to Disney World or camping or going to the beach, my family spent our vacations in church. We were always heading off to some church meeting or another. We went to all the local association meetings, all the state association meetings and the major national association meetings. We did take trips to other places sometimes, but most of the places I remember going as a kid had some church meeting attached to it.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

So Timothy, are those good memories for you? Or do you wish you did more family vacations.

At 11:15 PM, Blogger Rebekah Sanders said...

I don't mind the stuff that goes along with camping so much as the whole being in the middle of nowhere and having to sleep on the ground or in cramped quarters with all 6 of us squeezed into a room smaller than my bedroom at home.

So we compromise. We go on "adventures." We hike, we have bonfires. And then we go home or to a NICE hotel - where there is a jacuzzi tub waiting for me to soak off the grime, I can connect online with my girls and then collapse into a comfy bed and not have to worry about whether or not it's my boys snoring or a bear outside.

I connect with my kids all the time. We do life together. Makes me sad for all the families who have to have a family vacation to connect. It should be done every. single. day.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Kristin said...

See, I would do that. I did that at Yosemite. That's enjoyable, right?

At 3:41 AM, Blogger Ruthie said...

We went camping as a family when I was little. I got pneumonia from a leaky tent. So my idea of camping is the local Hilton. In fact, there's a wonderful Hilton about 6 blocks from us where DH and I had a great weekend last Spring. Why should I even have to leave town? LOL

As to connection with family, the challenge is even greater after your kids leave home and have families of their own. It's so important then to not "mother" but to really and truly connect as adults with common interests.

At 7:23 AM, Blogger Timothy Fish said...

Kristin: Are those good memories for you?

Timothy: I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. Some of those meetings got boring at times, but I don't really remember the boring parts that much. Besides, where else are you going to go on vacation and get to hang out with a few hundred of your closest friends? I still go to meetings like that.

At 4:28 PM, Blogger Crystal Laine Miller said...

Annie Oakley was a shooter and I love shooting, but I hate camping. I don't mind sitting around the campfire (as long as I have good mosquito stuff.) When it's time to go to sleep, give me a posh bed and bath.

Love the new header! It looks fabulous!

At 9:56 PM, Blogger Diann Hunt said...

I'm not a camper. Give me a nice hotel room with clean towels, fluffy pillows and mints. :-)

Our family connects through music. We used to sing together when our kids were growing up. Our extended family sings as well, so we have fun at family get-togethers with music.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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