When my son was born, my mother made me promise, PROMISE ON MY FIRST-BORN CHILD, that we would one day do a Disney vacation together as one big family. She never quite got over the fact that her ex-husband took me to Disney before she did, so being there for her grandchild's first time was more important to her than pretty much any other milestone.
For the next thirteen years, the timing never quite worked out. The boy's first four years were rough due to his AS. Once we had him settled down, I got pregnant again. Then, I refused to travel that far with a baby. Then I got divorced. Switched jobs.
This year was the first year I didn't have an excuse. This year, we went to Disney.
Never. Fucking. Again. At least, not with them.
I am not your travel guide
The first sign that something was going awry was that my parents, who travel often and have been on planes in the past five years, completely forgot how to travel. Everything was new and baffling for them.
Yes, we have to pay for checked bags. No, we don't have to print anything out before we go. No, they're not mailing us our airplane tickets (this hasn't been done in OVER a decade). Yes, you can get a cup of coffee at the airport before we get on the plane. No, the children have to stay with me in security, because I'm their mother. No, it doesn't matter what seat your ticket says, you can switch with one of the kids if you want their aisle seat. Yes, we can get a taxi from the airport. Yes, I'm sure we can get a taxi from the airport. NO, WE DO NOT NEED TO HAVE PRE-ORDER A TAXI. TAXIS AND AIRPORTS, BFF FOREVER.
Every fifteen minutes, I got a new question. I got many of the questions several times. They hadn't forgotten that they'd asked it, they just thought that I was lying to them and they were trying to catch me in it. I don't mind helping people who don't fly often, but JFC, if I tell you to toss your water and get in line, do it! I'm not trying to mess with you!
Yay for awkward fights!
My parents fought the whole. Damn. Time. Every time my husband or I ran into them, they were in the middle of some intense arguement. They'd shut up while we were around, obviously, but you could tell that they wanted to kill each other. Everyone could sense it, so tensions down to the six-year-old were running high.
What were they fighting about?
My step-father has a drinking problem. According to my mother, it was under control. After this vacation, I now think she's delusional.
Every time my step-father could drink, he did. He drinks like a sixteen-year-old with his first fake ID: Everything must be slammed, and once you finish one, order the next one. The goal of drinking is to get drunk. Period.
Disney was fine, because they don't serve alcohol. Epcot, though? Every time he passed a beer stand, he had to grab one. It didn't take long for him to turn into Drunk Asshole. I lost it when my son started emulating him. I barely got control of him again, and told him firmly that he was to stay with me or Jim for the rest of the trip. This went for his sister, too. Both of the kids were upset by this, but I couldn't trust my step-father, and I couldn't trust my mother to not hand them over to my step-father.
I am all out of fucks
I know I should be more sympathetic about his drinking problem, but god-damn it. We shelled out a ton of money for this trip, and I'd rather forget it ever happened. I'd love to wipe it from the kids' brains and try again later, but I'm not sure when we're going to have the leave to blow on it again.
The idea behind the vacation was that my parents and I would trade off kid duties, allowing everyone to do a bit of what they wanted. Instead, the kids ended up chained to me, which made none of us happy. My husband could take them for some things, but with a bad knee and his weight, there are simply some rides he can't do. My parents, because we had the kids, sulked along behind us, fighting under their breath and complaining about each other when they got me or my husband alone.
Urgh. Just... urgh. I am never doing this again. I wish I hadn't done it the first time.