Weekly Column: Light bulbs and Love

©Stephenie Freeman

Coming home from a vacation is always such a downer.

As soon as you pull into the driveway reality sets in. Suddenly all you can think about is everything that needs to be done: unload the car, unpack the bags, do four hundred loads of laundry, go through the large pile of mail, sift through a week’s worth of newspapers, pick the dogs up at the kennel, and have half a box worth of Cheez-Its professionally vacuumed out of the back seat of the car.

There is always so much to do at the end of a vacation, it’s almost enough to make you never leave town again. Almost. Family vacations are like labor: after a few weeks you forget about how painful it was and before you know it, you’re making plans for another one. Besides, a little post-vacation hangover is a minor inconvenience compared to the family memories that those vacations create.

We started making memories within just a few miles of home while on our road trip last week. Memories that included our four-year-old getting carsick. Memories that included pulling over every five miles to let our son upchuck his breakfast all over the side of the road. Memories that included deeply regretting forcing him to eat a plate full of eggs and bacon and yogurt before leaving town.

Yes, family vacation memories, the good and the bad, are what scrapbooks are made of. It’s doubtful that any of these particular memories will actually make it into our family scrapbook, although I did get a great picture of the Golfer holding onto our sickly son on the side of the road as he projectile vomited into a ditch.

I’m a big believer in documenting every little detail of a trip, but that’s not what possessed me to pick up the camera as my son puked all over his father’s shoes. As crazy as it sounds, it was a sweet and tender father-son moment that I was trying my best to capture on film.

My sweet husband didn’t hesitate when the first moans came from the backseat. He jumped out of the car and quickly took control of the vomiting situation. He didn’t try to use the typical, “Your the mommy” excuse. No, this daddy was willing to sacrifice his own cleanliness, willing to sacrifice life and limb on the side of the highway, in order to save the car (and the rest of us) from impending doom.

I never loved him more than I did at that moment.

Which is why, even in the midst of this post-vacation hangover, I am bound and determined to show my husband how much I appreciate him this Father’s Day. While heading out to shop for something special for their father, I asked my boys what they wanted to buy their dad.

“Light bulbs,” the Monkey told me.

“You want to buy Daddy light bulbs for Father’s Day? Are you sure?” I questioned.

“Yep. He will really like light bulbs.”

You see, the Golfer and I agreed that when it came to buying gifts for things like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, we would take the boys shopping and let them pick out whatever they wanted to buy (within reason of course.)

Apparently, we were off to buy light bulbs.

Our boys are creative shoppers. For Mother’s Day I got a teacup. Nothing else. Just a teacup. The Golfer tried to stifle his laughter as I looked at the Monkey and said, “This is just what I wanted!”

I can’t wait for his response as he opens his box of light bulbs this Sunday.

Nothing says, “Thanks, Dad, for all you are and all you do” than 40 watts of bright and shiny love.

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