Our family vacations have never been simple, but this year we had new complications. To begin with, we had only recently moved, our new apartment was still unfinished when we arrived, and it continues to be a work in progress. Next, our son Matt had a pre-vacation flight from LA to NYC. Then he slept at the far end of our living room on an air mattress (instead of in his old bedroom at our previous apartment). This living room arrangement was neither comfortable nor private. We had lots of togetherness even before we embarked on our trip. After not seeing Matt for 19 months, he was visiting for a whole month. A visit that long necessarily included continuing to work with his writing partner and pitching to a producer. Samantha was practicing to audition, singing with her powerful voice, filling our home and, later, our hotel rooms. With 30-year-old twins, lacking private bedrooms, we ended up playing musical living spaces at home and on the road.
Speaking of the road, I was only 4 weeks into my recovery from back surgery and not allowed to sit in the car –or anywhere else—for longer than an hour without stopping to stretch and walk around. Our five-hour trip became closer to six hours in a car that was filled to bursting with four large suitcases and one small one (for whatever didn’t fit in the big ones), along with Howard’s fishing gear. We don’t travel light. Fitting our belongings and then ourselves into the car was like solving a three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle. Forget about leg room! Extracting ourselves for rest stops was a challenge.
Nevertheless, we arrived in Lake Placid at the Mirror Lake Inn in good spirits. There we enjoyed mostly good weather and scenic power walks for three of us. Matthew stayed in the room to work, watch Formula One races and create podasts about the top racers in the spirit of People Magazine. Samantha sang almost every afternoon, rehearsing for her call-back audition, EPIC cabaret and future one-woman show. Howard and I mostly relaxed in the afternoon–with just a few of my husband’s work calls sprinkled in. As for fishing, Howard decided it was not worth buying a fishing license to catch tiny sunfish off the dock of the lake or schlepping to a better lake to hook bigger fish. The rest of the family didn’t care (except I wished we could ditch all the gear for badly needed car space).
After ANOTHER five-plus hour drive, with Matthew as Vasco da Gama on Google, we arrived in Ogunquit at the Cliff House. Along the way, we discovered that traveling west to east was mostly on backroads with endless twists and turns and few rest stops (exhausting for Howard and achy for me). But kudos to Matt for using his phone to find a tiny town with an even tinier sandwich shop with delicious tuna and chicken salad.
We had decided to return to the Cliff House because we loved it so much last summer and we wanted to bring Matt this year. Going to Spain and Portugal was still out of the question thanks to Covid. Howard treated the family to a two-bedroom suite with a living room, three bathrooms, and three balconies with spectacular views overlooking the ocean (a bargain compared to the cost of two standard rooms in Europe). Now it was time for us all to spread out and enjoy a little privacy and some fantastic food!
All Elisofon vacations include great food and too many desserts. On this trip we gorged ourselves on Maine lobster rolls. French fries turned out to be an inevitable part of every lunch. At dinner, Samantha tasted crispy Brussel sprouts and skate for the first time; she loved them both. Cliff House breakfasts were to die for, as Samantha likes to say. The blueberry muffins were as irresistible as the omelets.
Our morning feasts were followed by four-mile power walks AND another hour at the gym.
Samantha swam laps in both the outdoor and indoor pools. Towards the end of the vacation, I was a little worried that we might not fit into our clothes or the car, but somehow we managed. Throughout the trip, I also worried that our very different adult twins would not get along. At the same time, I was not-so-secretly hoping they would grow closer.
I’m not going to lie. There were a few minor skirmishes, but on the whole Matt and Samantha not only got along well but shared some great laughs together. Matt taught Samantha a new and dubious catch phrase to add to her collection. He explained that sometimes it’s better not to share your thoughts, but instead to “keep it in your pants.”
Of course, Samantha fell in love with this phrase as soon as she understood it and immediately began to overuse it. Of course, we cautioned her to use it only with family. When she shared this story with her psychiatrist, he asked her if she knew what keeping it in your pants meant (doubting that she did).
“It means keeping your penis—or vagina—inside your pants,” she proudly answered.
Now that Matt has returned to Los Angeles and we’re all settled in our respective nests and routines, I can’t help but wonder if we’ll take another family vacation next year. Any year now one of the twins might marry or be too busy working. (I pray that it happens for both of them).
In the meantime, I’m happy and grateful that our 30-year old neurotypical son and his autistic twin sister still want to go on vacation with their parents.
We’re still crazy and together after all these years.