On Vacation

August 4, 2009 § 1 Comment

CanadaWe’ve never driven to Canada through the Vermont before, where the curving mountains touch the underbelly of the grey sky and tendrils of clouds cling to the trees.

As we pass the lush landscape, I muse about all those who explored these lands before we built these highways. What was it like to carve a path through these forests without the protection of a car and the knowledge that food could be obtained at the nearest exit?

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I’m always waiting for my brother to show signs of maturity, but so far the only indications I’ve noticed are a deepening of the voice and hair growth on his legs. The petulant teenager has been nothing short of a little demon on this trip, and there are times when I have literally thought about strangling him to death, mostly while dealing with his exasperating antics in the backseat.

His sinful nature is at work, but I also blame my parents. The older I get, the more I can see the flaws in their parenting — I was an easy child to raise, but they messed up on Larry. My mother, who spends the most time with him [while I am at school and my father travels], spoils him incessantly, which I have already detailed rather exhaustively.

Larry was not in a good mood when he found out that we were visiting the Newport mansions in Rhode Island, and he truly did his best to make everybody in the family hate him for the few hours that we were there, lashing out both verbally and physically.

Mother traversing the rocks.

Mother traversing the rocks.

Even my mother’s coddling nature couldn’t stand him anymore, and after yelling at Larry didn’t work, she fell back to walk with me while leaving my father to deal with the twerp. I thought about this as I helped her over a path of boulders — with the exception of shopping trips, she only deigns to associate with me instead of my brother when he becomes absolutely unbearable. Granted, I don’t really like my mother and would prefer to keep my distance, but I did feel a bit jilted.

Family vacations usually do not go well. Most families are dysfunctional, but the members of my family cannot function happily in such close quarters. Being forced together for more than a few days is an exercise in torture as we all look forward to returning to our regular schedules of only coming together for half an hour of dinner and the occasional drive to someone’s house. Sad but true.

I wish that my family were one that could come together in harmony, but there are too many forces at work against such a fantasy. I keep thinking that things will get better in time: my brother will someday grow out of this insolent phase, and one day my mother will be able to stop worrying about me finding a job. Will there be openness then? I hold on to that hope, but I think part of me just doesn’t want to face the present brokenness.

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