I’ve had a few traveling companions in my time but my least favorites would have to be my parentals.
Guess who’s tagging along?
If looking after two small children traveling isn’t stressy enough feeling like I’m responsible for four is nothing short of meltdown city. My Vickletz and my parentals, who are probably about on par in terms of helpfulness in the travel scenario will be both under my wing. Don’t get me wrong my parents are lovely, cute I’ve even been told but they’re in their 70’s and they’re bordering on being seriously hillbilly. They are farming types who for the majority of their life have been tied to the land and it’s many responsibilities. They’ve had to say no so many times as they were in the trenches of hard work and permanent residents in struggle town. There was never the time or money for long distance trips and there certainly has been no big retirement, European trip or bussing about New Zealand or anything exciting like that. My parents have barely even left the state. Of course they’ve popped over the Murry River a couple of times to mosey about and say they’ve been to NSW but does that really count? I think not. Needless to say, this will be Dad’s virgin voyage on a plane. He has lived 72 years in this existence and he has seen and lived many things but not the exhilaration of flying. That blows my aeroplane loving mind.
Whilst we always had family holidays growing up they generally were local only being an hour or two down the road. Sure, they can pull a caravan but otherwise they’re not terribly travel savvy. If it wasn’t for me booking and navigating this whole expedition they’d still be going to and fro on their rocking chairs back on the farm. They’re cluey as anything when it comes to animals, growing crops of vegetables, harvesting hay and pickling anything but out in a fast passed scenario polluted with a crowd of people they are like a flock of dummy sheep. Easily spooked and easily scattered. Of course in these situations of rising (unnecessary) panic their automatic response is to bicker. Public bickering can be a hobby for them actually. There’s no shame in a few snappy words at your spouse for all surrounding to feel totally awks. That’s what 49 years of marriage does to you.
I tend to tolerate this public shower of cranky cranks for a limited time before I start narkin’ up myself to try and shut them right up. Unfortunately my good intentions usually resolve to just a whole lot of hushed curses with a tense crescendo before a veil of silence transcends us all. I usually also get a scolding from Mr Vick in there somewhere for getting involved and for letting my upbeat attitude spoil. Of course he’s just putting himself in the firing line then. So it’s happy happy all round!
My Dad is the ultimate people watcher. Seriously we can leave him on a bench and shop up a storm for a good hour and he’d be happy just there taking notes on individuals. If we’re with him he will observe and commentate back at a volume just a few decibels off a shout which makes me wish my super power was the ability to become invisible quick fast. I will never forget the day I took him to the city and he witnessed his first raging drag queen who he gawked, chucked and pointed at like as if drag types are vision impaired and impartial to such rudeness. I had to look around and make sure no one was going to deck him.
Then’s there’s his ability to strike up a one sided conversation with some unknowing stranger which predictably will be about the marvels of flying or, and this is a well worn in favorite, “I wouldn’t mind a dollar for every person that went by here every day”. It just wouldn’t be an outing without an awkward conversation with a stranger. I pity the poor person who will be seated next to him during our flight. Three and half hours next to someone who has little instinct for knowing when to shut the heck up would be quite grating I imagine.
Whilst I realise this this post has made my olds out to be nothing more than pain in the arse, weirdo types, they’re actually not. I’m just an argumentative daughter that somehow reverts back into a teenager in their presence. They have a sweet, innocent view of the world and believe in the goodness of all people. They are wonderful with our boys. My Dad is a magnet which draw in little Vickletz like salt to the sea.
In fact I can’t help but feel I need to treasure this trip with the hillbillies. I don’t know if it’s all the recent disasters that has tainted my disposition with sentimentality or not, but I know when you have parents in their 70’s you have to presume that this could very well be the first and last plane trip we all share together, bickering and stranger conversations and all.
As much eye rolling as they induce, I quite like their strange little quirks. One day I will miss them.