I didn't grow up in a summer vacation house.

Wait. Back up. Let me rephrase: I didn't have a summer house, either, although THAT would have been pretty rad.

(Truth be told, my friends who HAD summer houses were all infested with bugs and smelled vaguely of mildew.)

So I didn't have a summer house. I also didn't have a summer VACATION household. I mean, my parents were never all, "HEY KIDS, IT'S SUMMER BREAK! YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? FAMILY VACATION!"

Not once did my parents say, "LET'S GATHER 'ROUND THE CAMPFIRE AND SING US SOME DEPRESSING ANTI-WAR SONGS!" Although, to be fair, I learned my fair share of horribly depressing anti-war songs WITHOUT the campfire, thankyouverymuch.

Similarly, no one ever suggested that we "GEAR UP AND MEET IN THE FAMILY ROADSTER FOR A NICE ROAD TRIP!"

I can't say I blame them.

I'm a late-in-life-OOPS baby, my brother a full 10 years my senior, so I can only imagine the horror of a surly teen + his baby sister in the car. It'd have been one of those news stories you see where a family -- out of nowhere -- drives off a cliff to meet their tragic demise. If Illinois had cliffs to drive off, of course. A bridge doesn't have the same WOW factor.

Anyway.

We never took summer vacations. It was always too hot. Too boring. Too stupid. Too touristy. Too ... something.

While my friends toured exotic places like the Ozarks and Delaware, summer for a Young Aunt Becky was something like this:

"You up? Good."

(throws a piece of toast in my direction)

"Out you go!"

I'd be ushered out the door as my mother locked it behind me, left to my own devices. I could take this moment and whine about how horrible this was, but frankly, that would be a lie. I was a free-range kid and I loved it. Ghost in the Graveyard, Foxy Boxing, lemonade stands (where no one bought a damn thing), American Gladiators, we made up all KINDS of games.

Even without musty trailers and traveling through the Boonies, we had a good damn time. We were free range kids and we loved it. These were the days before the fear of kidnapping and/or sexual abuse was a big concern for parents -- we simply went about our day, back at home by the time darkness fell.

When I married my husband, The Daver, he shared stories of summer road-trips gone by. Loading up the ol' station wagon with bibles and Game Boys, and hitting the open road. In listening to him describe it, I can't say that I felt I missed out on anything in particular.

And for the past five years, taking a road trip or any sort of vacation with the family has been more or less out of the question. Two of the three of my children would express their displeasure at being contained in their car seats by screaming loudly as my brain thudded against my skull.

Finally, though, my youngest is a mature three, my oldest is nearing 11, and it's time. For a family freaking vacation.

Or, at least, that's what my husband claims they're doing (they could be off playing penny slots in Vegas for all I know). Yeah, that's right -- there's a summer vacation trip and I'm not going with.

Why? I can hear you yell through the computer at me, where I very calmly return, "I have pneumonia or some other exotic disease that doesn't need to be spread."

I admit, I'm a wee bit sad that I'm missing out on a glorious trip up to scenic Wisconsin, but not so much that I'm willing to bring my piles of medical gear with me in order to go.

Ah well. There's always next year.