schoolsoutI just got a text from my 16-year-old daughter: “I just took my last final! You own me a mani and a pedi!”  Today is the last day of school for both my daughters.The temptation to “check out” of school earlier, however, happened about two weeks ago. To keep their momentum going of staying focused on school, I did what any smart, hands-on parent would do:  I bribed them.  And it worked, because my teenager aced her finals. I’ll be dialing up the nail salon right after I post this e-mail.

A few months ago, we weren’t sure where to go for our summer vacation.  Unlike vacations in the past, this year is an important one, as it will most likely be the last summer trip that we take together as the Three Muskateers.  Next summer, my oldest daughter will be graduating from high school (I tear up just thinking about it!) and running off to Greece with her best friend.  Her life with mom and baby sister will be history.

Yep, this year is an important vacation for us. We were booked on the European Disney Cruise for a year and a half, but pulled out at the last minute because I realized that once on board, I really wouldn’t be spending much time with my daughters since they usually make fast friends and I never see them, except at dinner and when we turn in for the night. That’s no way to spend our last vacation together.

Mexico would have been fun . . . a few years ago.  Now with all the kidnappings going on, there is no way in HELL I would ever travel there. Not even to Tijuana!  I don’t care how many free trips are waved under my nose.  Being grabbed by the drug lords and held for ransom is not my idea of a good time. And it would probably be a very extended vacation, as I’m not sure anyone would pay for my release.

So we’re going to New York City and Boston.  It’s a smart decision, really. Not many kidnappings happening over there.  My teenager is considering Boston University as a college choice, and she wants to check out the campus, so I thought it would be brilliant and very economical if we combined our summer vacation with a college tour. Of course we’ll be catching a Broadyway show, too, in New York. “The Addams Family.”  It will be nice to be entertained by another dysfunctional family for a change.

Planes, trains and lots of walking. That’s how this single mom plans to spend her summer vacation.