(5 min read) Atlantis, Bahamas – Summer 2017
This place is paradise. Palm trees, coconut drinks, 5 star accommodations, water slides, snorkeling, sun tanned beautiful people, all you can eat buffets and families having a blast together.
So why am I walking around with the sour puss face on and feel like I’m internally combusting and ready to explode?
It’s because despite the beauty, the family trip, the dream coming true; my kids are crying and punching each other in the adjoining room. They are fighting –
The cause – skittles
You see, the mini fridge only has 2 packs of skittles and I have 4 kids. In my room..thats right player, we booked two rooms for this adventure, mom and dad need a trip to paradise as well. Anyway, my fridge has M&M’s.
So regardless of paradise right outside of the sliding door, there is a battle raging over who gets skittles.
Now I’m mad. “Kids, stop crying and fighting…quit bitching!!” I stammered – “We just got here and you guys aren’t worried about the waterslides and turtles, you’re worried about who gets goddamn skittles!!”
“Worry about what’s important!!”
I was so mad I had to leave the room.
Not 100 feet from my room was a little corner market – More skittles were there for purchase of course. A solution to my woes. But at $4.35 a pack (tourist prices) I was hesitant to buy them. I mentally added up the cost of the trip, the rooms, the water passes and all incidentals and I’ll be damned if I’m going to tack on an additional $8.70 for a bunch of whiny kids that have no respect for their parents or any gratefulness for parents that are so cool, they’d book a trip to enjoy as a family. It’s not about the money… it’s about the principal – a teaching lesson if you will. My kids will learn and understand there are consequences and it’s important to have priorities in life and not just live for instant gratification. It’s what’s wrong with the whole generation and the reason for the fall of America. These kind of decision by parents are WHY kids eat tide pods for likes on YouTube.
I know full well, they could share – hell they won’t even eat 10 of them anyway – it’s just the fact that they don’t want to share – MINE MINE MINE.
So I didn’t buy them.
And I was miserable all day. Me. I am at paradise and pissy and moany. A ruined day one.
As I walked around the resort (10 steps ahead of my family) and just a grumpy old man, I noticed a lot of dad’s behaving the same way. Why are all the dads at Atlantis pissed off I wondered???
Or a better question, “Why won’t these kids value what I value?” The rest of the week was some of the same. I enjoyed myself of course and there were great memories but I returned home stressed, poor and strung out – and needing a real vacation. When it wasn’t skittles is was the GOOMBAY punch, conch fritters or something else. Look, Atlantis is fabulous, I HIGHLY recommend it. It just wasn’t all it should have been or all I imagined it was going to be despite some amazing moments.
Now fast forward to last night.
My parents had just arrived in town. We were celebrating my youngest son’s pre-K graduation at a restaurant on the water. A typical fantastically amazing Corpus Christi sunset was going on and all was good in the world.
Until 3 of my kids noticed that one of the kids had Root Beer.
The others had ordered lemonade.
This immediately set off a whining pouting fit, in front of my parents, during a sunset at paradise at a restaurant.
I was all ready to instantly switch mode from relaxed and tranquil to “high alert” and “pissed” and the fight or flight surge was coursing through my veins. Instantaneous visions of how spoiled these little brats are and how I have done so much wrong as a parent that these kids can pout and moan and complain about such small issues flooded my inner eye.
And then as if spoken from GOD HIMSELF…A BOOM and tremble of deep BASS sound, a grumble of primordial gravel – a tremendous earthquake of a voice spoke from within my head.
“CHAD..JUST BUY THE DAMN SKITTLES.” Period. I believe, at the point I even spoke it aloud.
This “experience” I had last night would have profound effects on me and will affect me for the rest of my life, despite what little and miniscule the voice said.
I honestly felt as if the Almighty Himself, or my ancient soul, or some devine being created to slap our stupid asses on the face with reality when were so blinded by human-ism to see clearly – spoke directly into my soul. Honestly, I truly wish the voice would have said something to me a little more profound than that. A book title that would net me millions or something ..but hey, who am I to question the inner workings of the universe.
“Buy the damn skittles!”
I went back up to the counter,as if transfixed like a robot – gave Larry $9.00 for three root beers and came back. The kids popped the tops took a sip and were all fixed. Done. That’s all they had.They didn’t even drink it! All my inner argumentative dialogue about 47 grams of sugar and spoiling kids and tooth decay etc were for naught. They didn’t even drink it, I wasted money yes. But going a step beyond the actual product, the $9 was the best therapy, most relaxation, possibly BEST money I’ve ever spent.
I had dreams last night about how much different the trip to Atlantis could have been.
Look guys, judge me if you want – decide I’m a pushover as a parent and by caving I will indeed enable my kids to become street punks with needles hanging out of their arms and lead an unfulfilled life by never reaching satisfaction in little thing or any of the other scenarios I tend to play over and over in my head when I think about future consequences. Go ahead – judge –
But I’m guessing that the end result of me buying the root beer and the skittles is nothing more than that. It’s just skittles. Nothing more than satisfying a little kid’s wants for that immediate second and there is ZERO actual repercussions.
All I know is I had a miracle experience and my evening turned out way better than it could have. My blood pressure and heart and wife and kids and parents and all those around me are better off for a few over-priced root beers and underpriced decision making.