A view of the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.
Don’t forget to look up.
The ceiling in a section
of the Smithsonian Museum
in Washington, D.C.
In 1999 my wife got a new job and couldn’t go on our summer vacation. I didn’t want to disappoint my 10 year old son, so just he and I went to Disney World. I didn’t realize it at first, but that Father & Son trip was to be one of the best times of my life.
Fast forward to the present. Ever since that trip I have wanted to have a Father & Daughter vacation. The opportunity never presented itself until this summer. It was a repeat of 1999. My wife got a new job and didn’t have the vacation time to use. My daughter is 15 years old and I was grateful that the moment finally came – before she was “too old” to hang with her Dad. When my son was 10, I was still the “Big Man” in his life. My daughter and I have a wonderful relationship but she is still a teenager and all the parents out there will know what that means.
My trip with her wasn’t to Disney World. When we return there in the future I know she wants the whole family to go. She and I went to Washington, DC and Wildwood. At first I was worried. As I said, given her age, would she have anything to say to me. Would she acknowledge me at all or just go her own separate way? I know that I said she and I have a great relationship, but there’s a difference between the day-to-day routine and being stuck with someone. I kept telling her that she didn’t have to come. I wouldn’t be offended if she wanted to stay home and hang with her friends. “No,” she insisted. She wanted to come with me.
In Washington we went to a variety of museums, saw some Imax 3D movies, walked around a lot and talked about stuff. It was just simple conversation. She tagged along, without complaining, on my photo hikes. She walked with me, for what seemed like miles, in Arlington National Cemetery. (The next day, admittedly, we were both very tired and did a lot less walking.)
Wildwood, our next stop, did have some disappointments. Specifically, the weather was cool and rainy – not exactly swimming weather. But we did walk along the beach and went to the boardwalk and she got to eat some “fried oreos.” And she went on plenty of rides and played her favorite game – ski-ball. I also went on a few “gentler” rides with her but my stomach was still queasy. She managed to make friends with some teenage girls and go on a bunch of the “wilder” rides with them.
Yesterday was “pack up and goin’ home day”, and the weather finally was very nice – blue skies and a warm sun. I asked my daughter if she wanted to stay another day and she said no, it was fine to be going home. I knew the minute she walked in the door (at home) the computer would go on, facebook would appear and she’d be talking to her friends. I just asked her to try and remember who I was and maybe say hello sometime.
Tonight I’m going to watch the video I shot during the trip and read the journal I kept. For every vacation we have went on for years, I have kept a journal of what we do. Everyone expects it now. Even on this trip, my daughter made sure that I was keeping it.
My Father & Daughter trip – another “one of the best times of my life”.