Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Costa Rica Musings (or “Way To Wreck It” revisited)

Barbara: In honour of our upcoming trip to Costa Rica—!!!!!!—I decided to revisit an old story that Deb and I had posted to our now-defunct Way To Wreck It page (we thought our Deco Tips and Easy Recipes would get more traction—until we discovered they needed actual articles…). Some of our long-time followers will have seen this, but most of you probably missed it. So I’ve decided I can make two points with one blog—the telling of a “fresh” story, and the tip of the hat to our upcoming trip. Here goes:

Several years ago, my husband and I planned a surprise trip for our daughters to Costa Rica and we were really excited about it. Especially the surprise part. So were our teenaged daughters (they were 12 and 15), knowing we were taking them some place exotic, but not knowing exactly where. And my husband and I were veeeerrry stealthy, endlessly researching Costa Rica on the internet, sneaking travel brochures into the house, and meticulously planning our itinerary. I was beside myself, mapping out just how long we might keep the destination a secret from the girls––even delighting myself with the realization that we could probably get all the way there before they clued in because the airport signage would all read “Liberia”, which––as brilliant as my daughters are––would probably make them believe we were off to the Middle East or something.

And the girls were just loving the anticipation––brought them right back to the magical days of waiting for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

After weeks of this charade and with a few days to go, the girls were both in their bedrooms doing some prep-packing. And I’m subtly coaching them on what they “might need”.

I remember puttering in the kitchen when suddenly it dawned on me that they absolutely should NOT forget one essential item. So I call up the stairs at the top of my lungs: “Girls, don’t forget to pack your tampons for Costa Rica!!!!!!”

I freeze with horror, praying and wishing they haven’t heard me. Silence from upstairs. Then the low murmur of one daughter to the other, “Did she just say ‘Costa Rica’?” The other daughter, resigned, disappointed, somehow not surprised: “Yup.”

Way to frickin’ wreck it.
The girls as we arrived in Costa Rica. Looks like they forgave me for my gaffe!
Deb: My little boy was such an innocent. Do you think it was maybe that we only let him watch Thomas the Tank Engine till he was 12? Well, I can’t worry about that now, can I? That will be for him and his shrink to dissect.

At any rate, I found myself with a 12-year-old who still believed in Santa, and I, being (in my own fevered brain) the keeper of all things Christmas, was elated. One night, scant days before Christmas, I was singing him his goodnight song (Christmas-themed, of course) and he said, “Mom, do Santa’s reindeer really fly?”

I thought, Okay, here we go. I mean he was 12, for Godssake. So I proceeded to tell him the origin of St. Nick, etc. Suddenly, he sat up, eyes wide, tears streaming down his face and shouted, “I didn’t ask if Santa was real! I didn’t ask if Santa was real!”

So there I was broken-hearted, my Elf ears all askew trying to back-peddle my way back to his innocence: “Oh, Luke, I am so, so sorry.”  “It’s okay, Mom,” he squeaked out between sobs, “I still love Santa.” I waited till he fell asleep and then I hit the eggnog pretty hard. Then I fell asleep in a nutmeg haze, wishing like Cher that “I could turn back time”.  

PS You can still enter to win a trip to Costa Rica on their Facebook page


  1. Two beautiful stories about mothers and how they try to make things perfect and magical for their children. I loved it!! How vulnerable we are as mothers and how we can inflict such guilt on ourselves if we don't get it 'Just right". This show the depth of love and caring , tow wonderful women and mothers. I'll raise an eggnog to you both, thank you for sharing those stories.

  2. ooooh spell check, I forgot you again!!! New years" resolution.....:(

  3. Thanks Mary-Jo! So sweet. We moms do indulge in the occasional bouts of mind-bending guilt, don't we? Eggnog is much better!
    (and I so need my spell-check too!)

  4. Loved these stories. Can't wait to hear all about your trip as you go through Costa Rica. My neighbors just got back and loved it even though it rained a lot and this is not their rainy season. he said it gave new meaning to the words "rain forest."

  5. Two really cute stories....Barb Thanks for sharing.... i missed this story when you guys shared it the last time......!!!! And i am really waiting for all the Costa Rica stories now !!!!! So excited....

    And Deb, You said you guys let Luke watch thomas the tank engine..... My mom was hoping i wouldnt watch cartoons all my life coz that is all i watched until i was 15 :P (I didnt even care when people judged me... coz i am in ANIMATION......so i'm not worried :D lol)
    And i was welling up when i read the Santa story...Awwhhh...

  6. Oh wow! Wonderful, funny stories, ladies.
    I loved Thomas the Tank Engine when I was younger, too! Watched it all the time.
    No one really ever told me that Santa wasn't real, I actually figured it out when I was really young and that was that. I had a conversation with my grandmother that went something like this:
    Me: Is Santa real? Can he really do all that stuff in one night? Can reindeer really fly? (I never really believed in the elves thing, so I didn't bother asking about that one)
    Grandmother: What do you think?
    Me: No.
    Conversation over.

    I was always a realist as a child; Easter Bunny kind of freaked me out. Even after figuring out the whole Santa thing, I still played along so I wouldn't ruin it for my friends and parents.

  7. Almost forgot...Estoy muy contento por ustedes van a Costa Rica!

  8. Madge, that's too bad about the weather! I did think we were going at a good time because it's not the rainy season. Oh well, it will be an adventure, rain or no. Shalaka, it's wonderful how art and animation literally seem to animate YOU! So enlivening!

    And Steph, great story, cute kid! And thanks for the well wishes.

  9. LOL!! I can relate to both stories...My daughter..(15) cheekily asked if she could "set out milk and cookies" for Santa. She knows the truth but prefers the fiction..which is just okey dokey smokey with me!! I dont believe in ONLY things I can see and touch...I think there's a whole bunch out there we just have to know in our heart.!
    Love you guys

  10. Hmm sounds like Brittney on "Glee" has a lot more company in the "Santa believer" dept than I think their writers 1st thought!
    Barb I'm SHURE your gals forgave u- eventually!

    but Deb - I'm afraid Luke has been scarred for life- whatever did u do about the tooth fairy?
    I mean that was a major source of funds in my youth!

  11. Oh gosh, those are funny stories. My mom actually ruined two of her student's Christmas (she's a 5th grade teacher) by telling her class that Santa did not exist. Aparently, there are 11 and 12 year olds who still believe in Santa. lol

    Thanks for the great stories. :] love, Kelly from Kentucky/Ohio


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