Oliver Wendell Holmes has gone on record as saying, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.” I love that quote because it quantifies the collegiate experience.
Now I’ve discovered the quote can be applied to family vacations, as there are things you will never find out until you travel out of your home zip code on a visit that requires an overnight bag and more than 15 gallons of gas.
The overnight bag is particularly important for one of my discoveries: toothpaste.
Did you know “sparkle fun” flavor of toothpaste is actually bubble gum flavor? In fact, if you think it’s spearmint because the tube isn’t sporting Dora the Explorer or an illustrated bear… well, that can be quite a shock to the innocent, full-sized toothpaste user.
If we hadn’t traveled to the seashore and observed marine life we wouldn’t have learned the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise. (Porpoises have shorter beaks and flattened, spade-shaped teeth distinct from the conical teeth of dolphins.)
We also might not know there’s no difference between a “porpoise” and a “port-a-piss” if you’re a six-year-old with limited experience of large public gatherings.
One more thing I wouldn’t have known if we hadn’t left home?
That Dos can tell one serious “spooky story.” To an empty room, because as a curly-haired, shiny-eyed four-year-old she’s not worried about being locked up in a padded room; even if the story contains the following words: “… and he chopped the heads off the kids and fed them to the chicks; he poked their eyes out and bit their toes off!”
(I have no idea how these images got in her head. I am disturbed by this spooky story. To my knowledge the freakiest things she’s been exposed to are the dream sequence from Oklahoma! and History Channel specials… unless she also watched Finding Bigfoot when her sister sneakily switched the channel after Daddy fell asleep watching a televised soccer game.)
What do you learn from family vacations?