What We Learned On Our (Very Rainy) Summer Vacation

by Aline Weiller
Originally Published: 

We excelled at soggy golf, tennis and snorkeling, but soon grew weary. Our villa was adorned with wet clothing, hanging from every available door knob. A visit to a cooler with frozen candy bars Cameron discovered at the empty marina shop became the focal point of our day.

Much like my MO during unplanned snowstorm togetherness, I took out Uno, The Game of Life and our stash of family-friendly DVDs, unearthed from duffel bags in storage. Grant and Cameron were underwhelmed.

School of Rock, Mom, really?” Cameron said.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade?” I said perkily, trying to convince my teens—and myself—of this snappy alternative.

No response; apparently our selection was dated. The tap, tap, tapping on phones, tablets and laptops resumed.

Like an overzealous, slightly desperate camp counselor, I scavenged vacation games from my children’s younger years, but no one was enthused about an innocent round of Bananagrams. Nor up for Tic-Tac-Toe or a go at Hangman. Morale was at an all-time low. I resorted to pitching a detailed laundry lesson, asking the boys if they’d like to perfect their skills, you know, to get a head start on their college years. There were no takers.

Even during the few hints of sun, the kids were awash in beach boredom—wanting to head back to the pool, 45 minutes in. Gone were the days they’d make instant friends with the bribe of burying my husband in the sand. At 14 and 17, there was no carrot to coax them into finding Bermuda blokes. On one of the rainier days, I almost resorted to arranging a play date with a 15-year-oldish stranger in the elevator.

There were not the typical distractions for rainy vacation days—no arcades, outlets or malls in which to play, shop or loiter. Even if there were, we didn’t have a car. Gilligan-like, I was shipwrecked on Teenage Isle. I penned this as my official SOS.

We were also running out of food, just when grocery stores shut down for two days due to Cup Match—Bermuda’s time-honored cricket tournament celebrated with a fervor rivaling the rowdiest of Super Bowl parties. Upon hearing the news, Grant and Cameron started vying for the last frosted strawberry Pop-Tart, the next day’s breakfast. Everyone was cranky, picking fights and forming alliances like unlikely teammates on a reality show. Oh, and in the height of the humidity, I misplaced my go-to curl calmer hair gel; my natural locks then succumbed to a full-fledged frizz fest, true to totally awesome ’80s form. There was even talk of changing our flights and going home earlier, despite returning to the Northeast’s heat wave.

But happier moments snuck through, sweet in their surprise, glimpses into the gold of family time. Cameron, our budding comic, made for dinner theater with his spot-on impressions and one-liners. Grant, though our quieter one, found his voice: I caught him harmonizing (more than once) to 1975’s History: America’s Greatest Hits, uploaded to my iPod, when his phone ran out of juice. My husband and I stole a “date” at the pool, where we sat on soaked lounge chairs, sharing the one remaining beer. During the worst downpour (3 ½ inches, to be exact), the four of us teamed up to make a home movie with footage of Mark’s less than stellar, wet golf game. We chuckled in unison, chiming in with ideas for background music and apropos captions.

During intermittent dry bouts, the boys rode teal-tinged waves, their youthful skin still garnering a deep tan, albeit through the clouds. Mark caught up on e-mails and calls. I stole away to the spa more than once. Being thrust indoors for the duration wasn’t as bad as I’d buckled in for. We not only endured our rain-kissed vacation, we triumphed and left a little closer than we’d arrived. New memories were born, as were indelible selfies—souvenirs for our psyches.

While packing unused Coppertone lotions and sprays, I decided sunshine just might be overrated.

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