I realize that families often go on vacations to places like Florida or the Grand Canyon, or maybe even to another country. I realize this because I’m a grownup now, and I talk with other grownups about grownup things. Like planning vacations. And it’s a bit of a strange notion for me, this kind of vacation. I don’t know quite when this awareness set in, but when I was eight, vacation meant none of those things.
All year, I would listen with anticipation as my parents would tell us about our summer plans. Bug spray. Bikes. A Maine atlas. The biggest, most authentic Colombian hammock you’ve ever laid eyes on. A raft, a canoe, paddles, life jackets, a 4×4 pickup truck. And cookies.
Rainbow Chips Deluxe.
There is one thing you must understand if you want to know what it was like to take these vacations for an 8-year-old kid from small-town Maine. We had only two rules on our camping trips in the deep woods:
1. There are no rules.
2. You can eat as many cookies as you want.
Oh yes, it’s true. I distinctly remember my dad telling me those very words. Oh, what delight! Camping is the best thing ever. What I didn’t realize, of course, is that my parents were the ones who bought the cookies in the first place, so they were ultimately in control of how many cookies we had access to. But I didn’t know that…all I knew was that my parents finally said I could eat as many cookies as I wanted.
I was in heaven…and I’m so glad we never took “real” vacations.