A little spring break humor – by Tracy Cavanaugh, VP of Program and Nursing Support with Key Rehab

My husband, Kevin, and I decided to take our 3 youngest Grandchildren to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha Nebraska for Spring break. The Grandchildren are 12, 10 and 9- this means they are very mobile and articulate. Each Grandchild belongs to one of our three children—this (of course) is the equivalent of 3 different cultures colliding.
Day 1 was pleasant; the kids had not seen each other since Christmas. There was much circling each other, throwing comments, thoughts and ideas at each other--- nothing aggressive.
Day 2—off to Omaha! Each child staked out a spot in the SUV and set up housekeeping. Books, water bottles, and a stuffed toy. They were sharing books with each other, cheerfully leaning into each others’ space. Life was good.
Granddaughter #3 did comment on the drive north that we “sure do stop to potty a lot”. I educated her on what happens to people over 60 who drink coffee—she looked concerned, and perhaps, a bit confused.
We arrived at the zoo around noon— each Grandchild wanted to see a different area of the zoo first--- really, really bad! We quelled that small uprising and everyone went into the desert. The rest of the day is a blur—the lone male Grandchild began running “ahead” to see what was next- we counseled him on not getting lost, kidnapped, hurt. By the end of the day we decided if he was to get lost, someone would find us. If he was to get kidnapped, they would return him with a small monetary donation. If he did get injured, Grandma would be really mad but could tape or stitch him back together! Grandpa threatened to REALLY injure him if he didn’t behave.
While there had been a few small skirmishes throughout the day, we were able to remain in charge. Older, wiser, and starting to look a little crazy seemed to do the trick.
The after dinner activity was swimming in the hotel pool. Time ticked by.. Kevin was able to secure 2 very small bottles of wine. Just when things were starting to mellow, the unthinkable occurred. At some point during their swimming adventure, an unholy alliance had been formed! They were attempting a coup! They collectively decided “they” were not getting out of the pool, they were not tired, and they were not going to bed! Retaliation was swift and brutal! We countered in the time honored tradition of parents and Grandparents - threats and guilt. We informed them that the delicious cookies and chocolates we brought back to the hotel were going to immediately be shipped to some hungry kids in an unnamed third-world country!! NO MERCY!
Day 3- We are back at the zoo—I am considering placing the children in one of the exhibits and taking the animal’s home. My husband keeps reminding me that “there are laws about that sort of thing”!
We are finally heading home. Again, the Children return to the staked out areas in the SUV but they have now set up a perimeter for each space. There was little conversation and frequent complaints that this is a longer trip than the trip up to Omaha. We have been texting the children’s parents with our ETA in hopes that they would meet us at the curb to pick up their CHILDREN as we arrived back in Lenexa. No such luck…and none of the parents are answering their phones, or my texts…wait…What the HECK?!!