Saturday, August 31, 2013

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Ever since the dawn of time, come the first week of the brand new school year, teachers – for reasons best known to themselves – inevitably feel that what the world DESPERATELY needs is yet another batch of literary masterpieces entitled, “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”

Unfortunately, however, their students never seem quite up to the admittedly daunting  challenge of condensing two glorious months of fun and freedom into a couple of dull and boring sentences.

<brief interjection> I strongly suspect that when my parents read this post, they’ll ask me, “Why didn’t you write about the tuna?And so, before they do – and with your permission – I’ll recount this ancient tale of woe.

According to family legend*, back when I was about 7-8 years old, I [allegedly] reduced a vacation packed with trips, outings, and countless activities to the following:

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

We went to visit my grandparents. We bought tuna fish there, because it was cheap.

The End

*At the advice of counsel, I will neither confirm nor deny this story…


Yet, oddly enough, no one ever asks the parents to describe what THEY did during the vacation.

Which is a shame, really, because most parents would undoubtedly enjoy sharing their valuable tips for making it through the annual endurance test that is summer vacation spending wonderful quality time with their delightful offspring.

For instance, Gila has an ingenious solution (i.e. a pahTENT, for the Hebraically-oriented amongst you) she likes to call  “Next Safety”.

Meanwhile, here in TRLEOOB (=the real life equivalent of our blog), we prefer a more low-tech approach and instead rely on a tried-and-tested system* of automatic parental responses to frequently asked questions.

Here’s how it works:

Question Automatic Response
What’s for supper? Probably food, but I’ll have to get back to you on that one.
When are we going to do [a long-awaited but costly activity]? Not today.
Why won’t you let me go?! Everyone else’s parents said they could! Ah, but no one else’s parents ever won the prestigious “Meanest Mother in the World” contest!
Why do I always have to set/clear the table? Because we like your siblings better.

Laughing out loud

How did YOU make it through YOUR summer vacation?

(On a related noted, be sure to check out this JPost essay about the end of summer vacation.)

!שבוע טוב ומבורך


*Satisfaction is not guaranteed. Void where prohibited.


  1. LOVE the tuna story! When I was about the same age, I summed up my trip to Israel pretty much by writing in my diary "we went to Akko. We visited the jail. It was fun " but your story is even better, because it shows an unusual economic sensitivity at such a young age :-)

  2. Love this. As a blogger, I get to write about the parts of summer I enjoyed. I skipped the unpleasant parts, the ones that may have started with "Why won’t you let me ..." or "When are we going to [an amazingly costly activity that some girl got for her bat-mitzvah that involved airplane travel to a European country]?"

    1. Leora - I remember that not too long ago, you wrote a thoughtful post about choosing not to blog about the negative aspects of life. (Please feel free to post the link here!)

  3. I also love the tuna story. It reminds me of a composition that my niece wrote in second grade: "Why I Love My Parents". She wrote two full pages about all the reasons that she loves her father, and at the end, added one simple sentence: "I also love my mother because she once took me somewhere". My sister, who is an incredibly devoted and hands-on mother, was not amused.

  4. My summer had its highs and lows. Two quick trips to the states, one to see my parents and the second to bury my mother. Then, B"H, after the almost 40 day shloshim, my youngest got married. And all through it except when flying and shiva, I worked. I didn't go to the pool this year, except a couple of times.
    And about those kids on vacation... their parents would take them to Yafiz where I work and I'd have to keep them from climbing the shelves etc.

    1. Batya - May the coming year be filled with only smachot!

  5. one thing i learned over the yrs, i try after every vacation to have the kids list what we have done, usually prevents tuna stories

    1. f/e - Great idea! And now we have to see what we can do to make the term "tuna stories" go viral... ;-)

  6. My kids were in camp except for the week before school starter and we went away on a short trip.

    Love the automatic response and "next safety" idea--if I had only read this post before summer vacation . . .

    Wishing you a shanah tovah u'metukah and a ktivah v'chatimah tovah!

    1. Thanks, Laura. I hope you had a wonderful Rosh Hashanah! Gmar chatimah tovah!


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