Remember All Those Cool Vacations You Took with Your Young Kids? Well, THEY Don’t. Nope. Nada.

Remember all those cool vacations you took with your young kids?  Well, THEY don't.  Nope.  Nada.  #funny #vacation

So then…a sailboat skims the lake on a TV show and my son, Tucker, age 12, says, “That looks cool. I want to go sailing someday.”

I pause the TV. “You DID go sailing! Don’t you remember? At Club Med!”

“What’s Club Med?” he asks.

“Omigod, you don’t remember that? We went to Club Med a few years ago on vacation – and you went sailing – and jet skiing!”

Blank look.

A few months later, a neighbor kid talks about losing her first tooth, so I say, “Tucker lost his first tooth at the Alamo!” Tucker laughs and says, “Yeah, while eating popcorn!”

My daughter, Chloe, age 9, says, “You guys went to the Alamo? Isn’t that in Texas?”

“Yes! You were there too! Don’t you remember?” I ask.

“No. Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure! Don’t you remember the Texas family reunion – and we all toured the Alamo?”

Blank look.

A few months later, we talk about buying raffle tickets for the school fundraiser. Chloe says, “Nah, I never win anything.”

“Sure you do,” I say. “Remember when you won bingo on that cruise a few years ago?”

“Cruise?” she says.


Why in the world am I saving up all my pennies to pay for vacations for these kids when they don’t even remember GOING on the vacations?

Sure, they were young back then, but REALLY? Those were some of the coolest, most fun, most special family memories – and they don’t even recall BEING there?

At the time, they had a blast! But now, they act like anything earlier than a couple years ago is just a blurry fog.

How did we go from “this is the best vacation ever!” — to “what vacation?”

Nemo’s Dory has a better memory than these kids!

They seem so skeptical, I pull out the photo albums for evidence!

“Here you are at the family reunion on the beach! Yes, that little guy on the raft is YOU!”
“Look, here you are – smiling and laughing on a Disneyworld roller coaster!”
“Here you are on a jet ski! No really, that’s you. That is NOT photoshop. I SWEAR that’s you!”

Honestly, when I think of all the money I had to save to afford going to cool places –

the finagling to get time off work –

the stress of travelling/what do you mean your tummy hurts?/ahh! pass the barf bag –

and the hassle of packing/unpacking/where are those friggin’ water wings? –

And they don’t even REMEMBER that we went on the vacation?!

It makes me wonder why I went to all that bother!

Oh yes, yes, I know that it was probably great for their brain development to go new places and do new activities when they were early grade schoolers, toddlers, tots, and wee ones – even if they can’t remember it now.

And yes, of course, we’re lucky to go on a vacation at all.

And yes, yes, it was enjoyable for us as a family to spend that quality time together.

But whatEVER, people!

A more clever mama WOULD have just photoshopped their kids’ pics into exciting locales and PRETENDED to have vacationed there!

I could’ve saved a bundle!

From now on, I’ll just sprinkle FAKE MEMORIES into my conversations — and the kids will likely believe me since they can’t remember anything anyway!

“These croissants are delicious! Reminds me of that time we all vacationed in Paris.”

“Hey, remember when we cruised up to Alaska and went glacier-hopping?”

“Wow, it’s so hot today – just like our tour of those Hawaiian volcanoes – remember?”

And if they look skeptical, I’m just gonna keep selling it, like it’s totally real.

“This pizza’s almost as good as the pizza we had in Italy. Yeah, we vacationed in Italy. You don’t remember? Oh, sure you do. We went rollerskating at the Sistine Chapel? The Pope stopped by to play badminton? Then Johhny Depp flew us to his private island – and Beyonce came by for paintball? You don’t remember that? Omogish, SO much fun. Pass the pizza, honey.”

Then I’ll just stare off dreamily, smiling – while they look at each other, completely confused.

And if they ask for photographic proof – oh, I will make it, baby –

Remember all those cool vaacations you took with your young kids?  Well THEY don.t. Nope. Nada.  #funny #vacation

— Darcy Perdu

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(OK, seriously, when do kid memories kick in? And why didn’t someone tell me? I would’ve just plopped them in a sandbox until THAT age — THEN take them on cool vacations! Am I the only one whose kids don’t remember all the awesome stuff that happened in their early years?)

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74 replies on “Remember All Those Cool Vacations You Took with Your Young Kids? Well, THEY Don’t. Nope. Nada.

  1. Arionis said:

    Yes! I know where you are coming from. I was just in Vegas with my 21 year old son last weekend and we went to see the jousting sword fighting dinner show at the Excalibur. During the middle of it my son says something along the lines that he has never seen anything like it. I just give him a look and he’s like WHAT? I say “Seriously? Medieval Times? Anaheim? You were like 10 years old!” He thinks for a few seconds and says, “Yea I think I might remember that. If we were in Anaheim it’s too bad we couldn’t have gone to Disneyland too!” FACE PALM! We had gone to Disneyland the next day!

    • Bwahaha! Dying laughing at that, Arionis! That’s exactly like my kids! Argh! Those knuckleheads!

    • Right? I think we might’ve even taken a lunar shuttle on a couple vacations — yeah, that’s right…

  2. This subject just came up the other day when I mentioned our trip to England to my son Max who was 3 at the time and is now 15. Does he remember dressing up in chainmail and exploring real castles? Nope. Does he remember the first time we went to Disney? Nope. Ah well…at least he lived in the moment, right?
    Linda Roy recently posted..Book Cover Reveal: I Still Just Want To Pee AloneMy Profile

    • Ha! I tell ya, fabulous vacations are wasted on the very young! :)
      But I agree it’s definitely fun at that time!

  3. Kara said:

    That’s why I waited until my kids were 11, 10 and 8 to take them to Disney for the first time. I wanted to at least have a chance they’d remember going.

    • Now that’s a smart idea! Why didn’t you call ME 10 years ago and tell me the same thing?
      Honestly, Kara! Share your tips!

  4. They don’t remember the good stuff, but they sure remember the bad: OHHHH, that’s when you threw my Happy Meal toy out the car window! Oh, yeah, that’s when Eliza puked in the restaurant … that’s the good stuff. Puke and all.
    kathykate recently posted..In the After, Compassion Wins #1000speakMy Profile

    • Omigod, Kate – YES!!
      The fabulous sight-seeing, beach-going, amusement-park-attending Los Angeles vacation with cousins is only remembered by my kids for one thing: “Remember when cousin A said it was the best day of her life and then cousin B threw up on her? Hahahahahaha!”
      Face palm.

    • Ha! Exactly! That daycare situation’s looking mighty attractive right now!
      And with YOUR talent for creative writing, I can only imagine the vacations you’d fabricate for your kids! Ha!

  5. Hilarious Darcy! I took my daughter and her best friend on a cross country vacation when they were probably 10 or 11. It was a 10 day odyssey where we saw a little of everything. I had them keep a journal, I bought both of them really pretty ones especially for the trip. We got home and I asked them if I could read their journals expecting it to be full of all the exciting things we had done. NOPE three pages of how my husband lost $.75 in a pop machine and got mad and hit it thinking he would get his soft drink! Go figure!
    Rena McDaniel recently posted..LAUGH AT THE CRAZY…ANOTHER DAY IN ALZHEIMER’S WORLDMy Profile

    • That’s hysterical! I guess to a 10-year-old, a vending machine altercation IS exciting! HA!

    • Bwahaha! I love that line: “I don’t know, but I remember it was better than this.”

    • Phil, that’s hysterical! You don’t remember what you had for lunch four days ago?
      Go check your blog, baby – you probably wrote an awesome review of some new cool NY restaurant you visited that day!
      Your blog is CHOCK FULL of amazing dining & drinking adventures!

  6. My husband claims that some of my best memories never happened–maybe they reverse that!!

    • Ha! Your hubby’s wrong! ALL your good memories really happened!
      Even that time you tango-ed with Clooney and surfed with Ryan Gosling!

  7. Dana said:

    My mom told me that our family went to the Grand Canyon, and I didn’t believe her until she showed me the pictures!

    • Perfect example! Your poor mama!

      (although, PS, check for photoshopping just in case she made it up…)

      • Dana said:

        This was in the ’80s, so I can be confident there was no photo-shopping. :)

        • Ha! Then I guess it’s the TRUTH! You DID see the Grand Canyon!

          • Dana said:

            Yep! With no memory of it, what-so-ever!

    • AinOakPark said:

      I went to the Grand Canyon when I was 13. A big dusty hole in the ground surrounded by too many sweaty people. (That was my impression then…) I do have a FABULOUS photo of my mother from that trip – a close up of her head with the GC in the background, her mouth open wide. When people ask if I have a photo of my mother, this is the one I show. Why? Because in it, she is demonstrating that her MOUTH is bigger than the Grand Canyon!

  8. Lizzy said:

    Almost 2 years ago we got the chance to go live in Germany for 4 months. Totally awesome!
    We did tons of sightseeing on the weekends, castles, monuments, hikes through the Black Forest. Heck we LIVED in the Black Forest.
    And we had a few days off where we drove and spent 3 days at Disneyland PARIS! Yeah once in a lifetime event.

    My oldest, who was 8 at the time has vague memories. Next one at 6 is like “I know we were in Germany but I don’t really remember anything”. The 2 year old and 6 month old? Forget about it.

    Although randomly, was hand washing dishes today (stupid broken dishwasher) and was telling my oldest about how it is the way I grew up doing dishes. And she was all “I know mom (with as much eye rolling and tone that a 10 can handle) you told us about it in Germany since our apartment didn’t have a dishwasher”.
    Oh yes, Mom hand washing dishes is what she remembers.

    • Ahh! They don’t remember the castles and monuments — but Mom’s dishwater hands? Yep! That’s so funny!

  9. Judy P said:

    As a kid we only did two family vacations (that weren’t going to visit relatives) and they both sucked really bad (like memorable bad). Maybe that’s the secret to having your kids remember. Maybe my parents were on to something!

    • Ha! Judy, you might be right! People do seem to remember the bad stuff more easily than the good!
      I should have taken them on one MISERABLE vacation in the very beginning, then they’d never want to go on vacation again! Ha!

  10. Alex said:

    This is hilarious – and so true! We didn’t take our kids far from home until age 10 and 12 since a beach is a beach whether it’s an hour down the road or Hawaii. And then when they do remember, they come up with the weirdest things. Not the fantastic view, the amazing architecture, or the quaint marketplaces but the “awesome fries stack we heaped on the table at the airport” or “that horrible smell when we were on a bus going through an open air meat market”. Someone should develop virtual reality holidays like in the movies. Do you want to go to Kenya or to Moscow? No problem! Complete with tours in famous buildings etc. I can so see that being a hit. And think of the carbon savings, the lack of pressure on historic sites… The locals may complain but they just have to go lie on their own beach – there will be plenty of space LOL.

    • Yes! I’m ready to invest in this business idea immediately!
      I’ll wire you $50,000 to start. Send me the business plan — and one of those awesome fries stacks — because that sounds AMAZING!

    • Aww, I love you, Cary. If not for my pesky cat allergies and your pesky attraction to men, we’d be the perfect couple!
      :) xoxoxo

  11. LOL. :D I discovered the cure to this – not to go on vacation. We were strapped tight for several years when hubby went back to college, so things like visiting cowboy great uncle a couple hours away to see cows elicited responses like “This is the best vacation EVER!”
    “Really? It’s just – you know, you’re right! This is the best vacation EVER.”
    Tracy@CrazyAsNormal recently posted..Top Ten Reasons I Hate Your Top Ten ListMy Profile

    • Ha! Brilliant! I need a cowboy great uncle too!

  12. jenny_o said:

    Oh, ouch! We have the opposite problem. We hardly ever travelled anywhere for reasons ranging from most of us not liking travel, to paying a mortgage vs vacation … and when our kids got older we heard about how they had never “gotten out much” and “had new experiences” … now I’m just going to tell them they wouldn’t have remembered it all anyway. And they are children of the internet, so they’ll believe me when I quote your blog as “scientific research”, right?!

    • Beaming with pride! Yes, please DO cite my blog as “scientific research!”
      Also feel free to tell your kids they joined us on the Italian vacation — I think I see them there in the photo, just behind Beyonce’s muscular paint-balled left thigh! :)

      • jenny_o said:

        Y’know, I’m starting to have the feeling that we DID go on that trip … ha ha

    • All my trips to Disney are vague memories — I just recall seeing Mickey Mouse and opening my wallet!

  13. You know why this is so funny because all parents have had this conversation, honestly I wonder at times what the point is in taking children on holiday they forget about it and if we don’t have photos to prove we went there they will look at us like we are the ones who got it wrong
    Jo-Anne recently posted..Thursday’s NewsMy Profile

    • Exactly! Sometimes they’re so confident they haven’t been on that vacation, I start second-guessing MYSELF!
      AM I the crazy one? NOPE. It’s them! THEY are crazy!

  14. Kids are stupid, so there’s that. That pizza looks really good though. Is it really from Italy? I totally want some pizza right now!! You should vacation in Missouri next time and come visit me. That’ll make those kids appreciate all future vacations like nothing else.
    don recently posted..Winning a routine call for crazy…My Profile

    • Just checked with everyone and your Missouri house is a GO for Family Reunion 2015!
      15 adults and 23 cousins.
      We’re not picky. 2000 Thread Count Egyptian Sheets are fine.
      Slow-roasted Colombian coffee beans are acceptable. Chilled Bud Lite Lime, natch.
      We’ll bring the pizza! Direct from Italy! Where the Pope made it! And Beyonce’ blessed it!

  15. Sheryl said:

    Well, even when they do remember, sometimes the memories aren’t quite right. To whit: When I was 14, we took a cross-country family camping vacation. When we arrived in Las Vegas, it was flooded, and the campground paid for us to be in a hotel. We went into the Circus, Circus casino to look around. Nearly 30 years (and many of my own tellings of that story) later, I mention to my parents that I was surprised they left my sister and me on the family-friendly floor of the casino so they could go drop $10 into quarter slots. “WHAAAAT?” my mom yells, “We never left you! We would never leave you! Please tell me you haven’t been telling people that!” Uhhhhhhhhh, sorry Mom.

    • Bwahaha! Tell your Mom I’m reporting her to Child Protective Services RIGHT NOW!
      They will jail her retroactively for abandoning you to go gamble! Ha!
      So funny!

  16. Julie said:

    Now I feel so much better about never taking mine anywhere! :)

    • Right? I’d love to go on that kind of vacation!

  17. HAHAHAH. Oh so much yes.

    We constantly are having this conversation with our two girls, who I swear were like 4th and 7th grade when we went last.

    WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DON’T REMEMBER 3 TRIPS TO DISNEYWORLD AND 3 DISNEY CRUISES???? Mickey? Downtown Disney? The pirate ship in the Caymans? The castle? The FIREWORKS?

    *blank stare*

    We’re going by ourselves from now on.
    stef recently posted..Puppy Time – Let the Cuteness BeginMy Profile

    • That’s so funny! All those Disney dollars down the drain! They don’t even remember! We demand a refund, Disney! :)

  18. Oh boy, I’ve had these same convos with my kids! We never did plan the Disney trip with them, they wouldn’t have remembered anyway! Went many years without a family vacation. Now, finally, took my 18 yr old daughter on a Chicago trip. Hope to God she remembers it!!!! Loved your story!!

    • Ha! If she’s 18, she’ll not only remember it – she’ll text, Instagram, and SnapChat every second of it!

  19. I love your vacation photo. No one would ever dream of saying that you weren’t in Rome. I read my son’s, “What’d you do over the summer?” paper, that he brought home from school in second grade. He wrote, “I went to the Rustic Tavern and played pinball.” Shoot me dead.

    • Love that, Millie Noe! Honest and to the point! Ha!
      When I volunteered in the the 1st grade classroom, the teacher asked the kids to draw a picture of what they did for Thanksgiving. One kid wrote, “We went to Vegas. My mom gambled and my dad drank beer.” Bwahaha!

  20. Jess said:

    Opposite problem- last year took my 5 year old to Hawaii, a year later and he still can’t go a week without asking “when are we going back?” Lol it’s driving me batty because if I had it my way, we never would have left, he just keeps rubbing salt in the wound!!

    • Ouch! That IS a problem!
      But on the plus side, your son obviously has good taste in vacations!

  21. I went on vacation once to a Club Med with my parents. It was 1978. If my mother asked me now if I remembered I’d deny it too. It was a MUCH different place then. Hahahaaaa.

  22. Jan said:

    I picked up a box at the firehouse that their new industrial range came in. I painted it and made it into the coolest house for my daughter. She and her friends loved it (they all made a beeline for it when they visited), she slept in it many times and I only have a couple of pictures of it. She has NO recollection of it! I guess I donated it to the preschool too early in her life. She was 6. No memory of it. Single coolest thing I ever did for her and she doesn’t remember.

    • That house sounds so cool!!!
      How can she not remember it?
      Well, let’s hope it’s just in that part of her brain filed under “Warm, Wonderful Things That Made My Childhood Pretty Cool But I Can’t Remember the Exact Details!”

  23. AinOakPark said:

    Okay, so I asked my adult (30 and under) kids to name three vacations and a memory from each. One child responded. She remembered a lot. The bad one was when she fell in a crevasse while we were tide pooling and when the waves came in, the water was over her up-stretched arm, and when the water waves were flowing out, only her hand showed. My husband did the adrenalin thing and bent down and lifted her out with one arm. She weighed about 110 pounds and was clothed in jeans a sweatshirt and jacket, so she was pretty heavy. She wasn’t seriously injured and the adults didn’t have a heart attack.

    The family one was at Excalibur in Las Vegas, my sister’s husband was doing a pathetic job of winning our kids something in the arcade. My mother said, “give me that gun!” and in just a few shots won all the kids a treat. Bam! Bam! Bam! DONE! We were all like, “Geez, Mom, where’d you learn to shoot?” “I had two brothers!” she said, as if that explained it. This didn’t make much sense to me since I have a brother and don’t know squat about shooting, but whatever.

    And, last but not least, the “are we going insane, or do you hear that too?” one: We were in AZ for Spring Break (think EASTER, folks!) and were in Taco Bell. We started hearing “Lord Je-sus” over and over. We were all like, “Do you hear THAT?” and the kids and my husband are in agreement; we are all hearing “Lord Je-sus” repeated over and over. Turns out they were doing some (subliminal?) advertising for GOR-DI-TAS. But we were sure we were about to see the second coming of Christ.

    • Bwahaha! Those vacation stories are hilarious! I especially love the image of you all sittin’ around eating tacos when you quizzically tilt your heads to hear the Good Lord calling out to you “Lord Je-sus!” HAHAHA!! So funny!

  24. Cara said:

    OMG, this just happened to me last month. We walk into a 5-star resort in Mexico where we’d stayed just THREE YEARS PRIOR and my now-12-yo daughter’s eyes bug out and she drops her jaw and says something like “This place looks ah-mazing” and I am speechless. I say, “You don’t remember being here three years ago?!” And she’s like, “What?!” FACEPALM. Omg kids.

    • That’s hilarious!
      On the plus side, you could take her to the same place every couple years and she’ll always think it’s brand new! Ha!

    • That’s so cool — you have an awesome memory!

  25. IRrational thinker said:

    I am that kid. 33 years after I went to California and I’m still getting teased for not remembering that vacation (or any others). I remember a clown Sundae at Ferrel’s where some brilliant creative genius put an ice cream cone on TOP of the ice cream to make a hat (all of my earliest memories revolve around ice cream or chocolate). Meanwhile, my parents paid for a birthday party on that same trip at the top of the Space Needle where they spent a fortune on Mount St. Helens sundaes that actually smoked. Or so I’m told. I have never seen photographic evidence. The same trip (this vacation gets mentioned in my family. A lot.), I have a vivid memory of being lost during the light parade at Disneyland. I’m assured this never happened. Whenever I go places and see parents touring their kids, I tell whomever is in hearing distance that it’s a complete waste. Apparently you’ve never been within earshot.

    Ps thank you for sponsoring the blogess so I could discover your site. (And through you the reluctant cat owner.) Of course I’ve gotten much less accomplished over the past couple of weeks, but I’m sure you don’t need to feel guilty about my unemployed, probably soon-to-be-divorced state.

    • Ha! I laughed so hard when I read the part that said, “I have a vivid memory of being lost” — and then “I’m assured this never happened.”
      Love that! Sounds like a big cover up to me! They tried to distract you with all those ice cream sundaes, but YOU know the truth! They lost you temporarily! Well, they found you again, so that’s all good. And by the way, I LOVE ice cream so any vacations that involve that delicious goodness is perfect to me!

  26. This post is very spot on. The thing I would say is what we remember from vacations is different than what the kids will remember. Memorable events are things that are thrilling, challenging, or emotional. Activities that most families do at theme parks or while traveling do not cut it if the goal is being memorable. Who says, though, that vacations HAVE to be memorable? Isn’t it enough that the family was together and had those experiences. I cherish experiences that my kids do not remember we had. The fact they don’t remember doesn’t lessen the value I received.
    Miranda recently posted..Football is here and I’m torn!My Profile

    • That’s a good point! I need to do better at that “live in the moment” approach!