It is that time of the year when families start taking off for their long awaited summer vacation. However, before you even consider all the things that could go wrong on a vacation, let's take a look at all the characters that typically have been cast in the lead roles of this CrankaTsuris drama.
First, we have the kids. They are all excited that they get to embark on this great adventure. They can't wait to experience new things. For weeks, they have been day dreaming their best fantasies imaginable about the trip, and now, it is about to happen. They were so excited the night before that they could not go to sleep. On the day of the trip, they have to be pulled out of bed because of their exhaustion from staying up the night before.
Parent A is the one responsible for the packing list. Sunscreen, Tylenol, bug spray, bandage, bathing suits. The list is so long that it is essentially the entire inventory of the whole house. Yes. It is only a week vacation, but let's see if we can pack for an entire year. Parent A is so proud of the packing list, but feels resentful that they are solely responsible for the list, and the rest of the family unit are all taking turns criticizing this master work that took so much effort.
"Why are we packing so much food!!! Don't they have restaurants that we can eat at?"
The rest of the family have problems with the list so, instead of discussing the problems, they each make sure to innocently forget a few of the items that they were supposed to pack away.
"Hey! If I forget to pack my bathing suit, Mom and Dad will just have to buy me a new one!! Hooray!!"
Parent B is the planner. Parent B is responsible for making travel arrangements, finding the perfect hotels, checking on and reservations scheduling events, tours, rides, dinner reservations. Parent B is also the over planner, making sure there is absolutely no down time whatsoever. Parent B is proud of this elaborate plan, but also feels resentful that nobody participated in the planning or even shown the least bit of interest.
The rest of the family has been trained to know that Parent B is the planner, and they want no responsibility in the planning because that frees them up to blame the family planner in case anything goes wrong. Parent B knows this, and that adds to this parent's resentment.
One parent is the early person. This parent believes that we have to take into account possible traffic jams, the car breaking down, the airport lines being long, and kids not getting ready on time, and wants to leave three hours earlier than may be necessary.
The other parent is always the late person. This parent remembers very well the time the family got to the airport three hours early and had to just sit around, so this parent has taken on the mission of leaving at a time when there is not a moment to spare.
Even if things go reasonably well, like the bikes did not fall off the bike rack and crash into the cars behind you while you were speeding on the highway, this situation, if left unchecked, will result in CrankaTsuris in Paradise.
So, here is what you do. At least a few weeks before the vacation, schedule for the whole family a CrankaTsuris party. Order a pizza, get some of the kids' favorite foods, and make sure it is a fun setting. Once everyone gets in a real good mood, it will be time to take turns, and let out their Vacation CrankaTsuris. Let it all out. Go on and on and on and on till it starts getting silly. The secret to a good CrankaTsuris is that it starts out as being very serious, but the longer you go, the sillier it gets.
Each CrankaTsuris should end:
"And it makes me feel really really mad and sad, and I just want to cry!!!! WAH!!"
In this game, the rest of the family has to come up with ideas on how they can help the family member with their CrankaTsuris. Once that person finishes, the next family member gets to go. Again, the other members have to come up with ideas to help out.
When everyone is done, it is time to start writing the CrankaTsuris packing List.
Things can still go wrong on vacations, but this exercise is important to wash away any of the resentment before you go. You can pack a car full of clothing, food, and everything else, but nothing will take up more room in the car than resentment. With any vacation, in this resentment area, make sure you always travel light.
"So we learned to be careful not to express our inner TyrantoCrankaTsuris or TyrantoKvetchaTsuris too often. Just the right amount to keep the planet happy and not too cranky."