Kevin and I recently spent a week in Paris with my parents, and although a week in Paris is always a good thing, a week in a foreign country in the constant company of one’s parents is something never undertaken without a great deal of trepidation – for obvious reasons. I remember when I was younger, and my grandmother would tell me about all of the wonderful trips she and my grandfather had taken with her parents, to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, etc. I thought she must have been smoking crack. As a teenager, you can’t stand to even sit down at the dinner table with your own parents, much less spend a month abroad with them!
But time has a way of mellowing people – even parents, and during our week in Paris my parents were a dream. (I wonder how I measured up?) They’d arrived a few days early, and so by the time we got there, they had the Paris Metro memorized. There was no consulting of the massive folding map in the middle of a crowded subway, which never fails to make me break out in hives of embarrassment. And when my dad insisted on walking around Versailles with a canteen hanging from his belt and a bandanna wrapped around his head, Lawrence of Arabia-style, I somehow managed to find it amusing, instead of mortifying. For their part, my parents were surprisingly accommodating to my desire to lead them around the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, lecturing them on all of my favorite paintings like I was some sort of art historian. And my mom very graciously consented to walking all over Paris with me in search of the hidden passages. (Kevin and Dad most graciously disappeared for the afternoon to allow the womenfolk to shop in peace.)
And despite being in each other’s constant company for a whole week, we still had lots to say to one another and (almost) never fought. So now I think traveling with one’s parents is a fine mode of travel. It may even be my preferred mode. So, what do you think, folks – next year, Rome?