1. Your description of borderline skimishes resonates with me. That easy give and take when you’re used to a person’s moods, behavior, and probably adjust your own accordingly – well, out of practice doesn’t cover it when you’re all thrown together after a long separation.

    But I love your description of rituals -and how we cherish them with repetition – as a kind of walk back into the past, and yet, your longing for the present life you’ve crafted.

    This could have been my exact experience, as a Cape and Vineyard veteran, who went back with my own kids to establish the same routine. Thanks for sweet post.

    • Laurie Stone

      Thank you, Susan. Vacations with grown children are so different then when they’re little. I find it poignant. Thanks for reading.

  2. Just got back from a big family get-together in Michigan. I was very worried about political discussions wrecking the peace but fortunately although we’re divided between conservatives and liberals (with me probably being the farthest to the left, living in liberal NYC), there’s pretty much a universal agreement that Trump’s horrible, which pretty much meant there wasn’t much to argue over.

    I think the biggest tiffs that broke out were between me and my mom – like when I went to make iced tea and somehow she disagreed with the pot I chose for boiling the water – and was persistent about, couldn’t just take my “I’ve got this” and go find something else to do. I’m 49, can I please boil water without supervision! 😀

    Mostly a fantastic gathering though. This annual gathering on a lake is a relatively new thing for the family (gatherings in Michigan go way back but this specific version is new) and this was the first time for my folks and my sister and I to all come. My mom asked my sister and I whether we’d like to make this an annual thing too, but I couldn’t say yes – I’d absolutely love to do it again but I can only take so much vacation in the summertime and I do pull off the occasional amazing solo adventure in that time frame, I just can’t quite bring myself to saying yes to same time every year, because who knows what amazing thing I might have the chance to do at this time next year? Just can’t close the door on other possibilities like that…

    • Laurie Stone

      Bonnie, Laughing over your Trump quote. Yes, who knew he could unite previously politically-divided families? So funny. I also love your solo adventure idea. Very intriguing. You’ve got some thoughts of my own percolating. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  3. Hi Laurie,
    1. It sounds like you had a nice time and made memories. I’m glad.
    2. I have similar issues, I am sure many midlifers do. My youngest will be 20 this November, so still 19. I feel like I’m always questioning her, and then I feel guilty. To compensate, I don’t question enough, and then I feel guilty.
    We try to plan family vacations, but they want to work and attend summer school in the summer. So, no more family vacations? So not okay with me.
    Thanks for writing a very relatable post. It struck a nerve.

    • Laurie Stone

      Thanks so much for reading, Janice. Its hard to find that balance between wanting to know what’s going on with our kids, but not asking too much. I’m still trying to find it and my sons are in their twenties!

  4. Lois

    I had to read this right away, as we are on vacation with Don’s family for two weeks. Twenty-four people was fun when it was 11 adults and 13 children, but now there are only five kids left that are under the age of 18! I was sitting at the dinner table thinking about how much the balance has changed, and had very mixed emotions.

    • Laurie Stone

      Lois, It definitely changes the dynamics when its mostly adults. Its still fun, but different. I can’t believe you guys have 24 people for two weeks! That’s a testament to how well you all get along. The balance definitely changes when its mostly adults, however. Thanks so much for reading.

  5. This post tugged at my heartstrings a little. I can relate to the annual family vacation and how hard it is for us to find the time for a whole week together now that the children are grown adults. As they get older and have lives of their own I treasure anytime they choose to spend with us.

    • Laurie Stone

      Lori, We had to choose a week my oldest could join us. I was surprised and flattered Patrick still wanted to come. It is very bittersweet to go to the same place each year, and have everyone (except me and my husband of course) getting older. Thanks so much for reading!

  6. Hi Laurie,
    The next best thing to sitting next to you at our writing group is reading this. I related to some of the feelings in your writing and loved reading it. So good and honest. You are the real deal.
    So when and where?


    • Laurie Stone

      Helen, So great to hear from you and thank you for the kind words. I feel we have another Gold’s meeting coming up, but that’s me. I’m also open to anything else. Miss you.

  7. I kind of like vacationing with my adult children. I’m not as afraid they will drown. Now I’m afraid they’ll crash the car. It never ends, does it?

    • Laurie Stone

      Haralee, We’re going to the Cape next week. Can’t wait to dig into fried clams and fries, all the things I studiously avoid back home.

  8. Beautiful writing that brings us right along with you. All these details you’ve included are so real and vivid, I can practically feel the cabin fan blowing on my legs and hear the rush of the river. A tender, sweet moment with your grown family. Thank you for sharing.

    • Laurie Stone

      Julie, Thanks so much. It seems like yesterday my boys were running around with water wings. Now, I’ll hear the car pull in late at night and have no idea where they’ve been… probably the same dance clubs I used to go to!

  9. We went on a family vacation to Hawaii last fall. It was the first time the 4 of us were alone on vacation together in 10 years. What I experienced was that my kids are basically the same people they were at 5, 15…and the same things that I fretted about back then still made me worried, the same things that I adore about them I still do. I felt melancholy, like you did. Where did those little people go??

    • Laurie Stone

      Sharon, The funny thing is I remember those vacations being a lot of work — laundry, feeding and entertainment needs never changed, even on vacation. And yet, here I am, nostalgic for those sweet times. Time goes too fast.

    • Laurie Stone

      Wendy, These family vacations are fun in a different way. My boys and I laugh as much as ever and I find them informed and smart. Its a treat to spend time with them. I feel lucky they want to!

  10. I used to vacation every year with my two brothers and one of my sisters, but those days are long past and two of the siblings have died. Things change and it’s time to change and do something different. I don’t really vacation with my son, his intensity just doesn’t work well with my need to actually relax on vacation. We have invited him a couple of times, but I think even he realizes it’s not always a good match!

    • Laurie Stone

      Jennifer, I’m so sorry about your siblings! That must be rough. I also have family members I no longer vacation with, because its not a good fit, chemistry-wise. Way too intense for me too! I think we have a right to have a real vacation without being stressed out.

      • Jill

        I totally agree. You have to do what works for you. I am better one on one with my 2 adult children esp as they are so different.

        • Laurie Stone

          Jill, You’re right. Whatever works. You’re wise to see how one-on-one is best for you and your kids.

  11. I remember when we dragged our teenagers on vacation. My son, truly felt like it was a punishment to leave his friends. Now that he is 35………….I heard him talking about the fantastic trip to Europe that the four of us went on when he was a junior in high school. I almost fell off my chair! So, the point is………these memories that we create with our kids are so important. Keep the communication open and alive………even when their eyes are rolling!

    • Laurie Stone

      Ellen, My kids also said the same thing about a trip to Europe. They kvetched the whole time (mostly about having to get up early for tours), but years later speak of the trip fondly. Go figure!

  12. What a lovely post–and wonderful tradition. May it continue for as long as possible. “How did we go from juice boxes to single malts so fast?”–that line struck me.

  13. I’ve never taken a holiday with my adult children and it was so interesting reading your take on things. Of course, my children are both in their mid 30s now but I think I would be like you with the drinking. I think it is hard sometimes to accept and realise they are adults and independent and that is what we taught them to be. #womenofmidlife I’ve shared on my ST60 & Beyond Facebook page.

    • Laurie Stone

      Sue, So true. We get what we wish for — them to be independent adults. But its still hard watching them acting like fully-independent adults, no longer
      subject to our influence.

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