Going into our Maine vacation, as I noted in my previous post, I knew there would be some problems. Us being a very tech-dependent family and being in the middle of nowhere led to some problems, but my aunt was kind enough to let us use the hotspot at her house, so we were able to browse online while we were there, at least. When we left the house, forget about it.
When we arrived, I was honestly astonished by the view. My aunt’s house is on a small lake and she is at the far end of it, so looking out, you see a large expanse of water surrounded by trees. It is beautiful.
However, a view only entertains for so long. And we discovered that my aunt had not planned much for us. I specifically told my husband not to plan things because I thought she’d have plans. So we didn’t know what there was to do around there. The weather was quite foggy and a little chilly. The morning we left was the best weather.
Also, the day we went off on our own was our best day. We went to the downtown area and did a little shopping and I had planned a meeting with one of my son’s school friends who happened to be camping 15 minutes from my aunt’s house. The payoff wasn’t great for that, as we had to wait for his friend to get to the ice cream shop we planned to meet at, and they went to the wrong location. So my son was starting to get very cranky and wonder why we had to sit outside this ice cream shop and wait. But it was fun to see his friend and his friend’s mother.
What I had a hard time with was the vocalization of my son and husband’s unhappiness. It just made me more anxious. Like, as soon as I knew they were unhappy there, it was a lost cause. When they tried to mask it and put on an air of positivity, it was already ruined because I knew how they really felt.
I conveyed to my husband that I felt torn when I go with him and my son to visit my family. I know my chosen family doesn’t really mesh with my birth family and this causes me to feel torn. I want us to enjoy things as a whole family, not just to see my family and have my husband and son tag along.
Of course, there is something to be said for sitting by the water, catching up with family. I think over the past 10 years or so we’ve all grown a little too dependent on internet. We’ve all developed friendships and connections to people in our virtual world, and I think many people who don’t have that kind of connection don’t understand what it’s like to be without it. At the same time, I feel like we should be able to unplug for a couple days, as you would with “real life” friends you might be leaving behind to go visit family. It can be hard when the family you’re visiting isn’t close and isn’t relatable to your lifestyle.
I completely understand sometimes you have to open up and talk about touchy subjects in order to really connect with people, and I’ve been trying to do that. The one time I tried to broach a controversial subject with my aunt was when we went to a restaurant with my aunt and they gave us water with paper straws.
I’d had a conversation with my son not long ago about how paper straws and other environmentally-conscious straws seem like a good idea on the surface but don’t work for everyone, and I tried to explain this to my aunt, but she wasn’t having it. I used to think people who championed things like reusable straws and paper straws had a good cause. But these are people who don’t realize why people need straws and what types work for them. Sure, a stainless steel straw works great for people who don’t actually need straws and just use them for their iced drink, but what about people who need them all the time and drink hot drinks? (I’ll wait while you wince and purse your lips.)
Anyway, I’m recalling back to a topic I already covered, but the point is we quickly realized my aunt didn’t want to have a conversation about her thoughts on touchy subjects, so we tried to stick to safe topics, like what brought her to Maine. We had a conversation that resonated with me about how she connected to the Maine community and made a name for herself. I realize now that when she said she’d lived in Maine for 30 years, that means she moved here when she was around my age. It made me feel a little optimistic to realize that I still have time to make a name for myself.
Being home now, it’s nice to have everything back to normal. I feel like there could be a happy medium for us. Both worlds can be isolating; the one that depends on technology, and the one that shuns it. It’s up to the person to create the world they want within their environment, and it is hard to leave that world and go to another.
There are already talks of “next year” and I hope that if we do visit, we’ll be better prepared to make the best of it.