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Carol Ann Saraceno-Sackett: Trip with grandkids tests my patience

Our granddaughters, ages 6 and 12, have been talking about going to Paris with us someday. When I offered a trip to Lake Placid instead, they began counting down the days. I chose Lake Placid for its natural beauty, family activities and proximity to home. A three-night stay seemed perfect.

On Day One, we cheerfully left their home at noon for the 6½-hour trip. At one point, though, Six became car sick, so we pulled off the road and let her rest awhile. All the twisting roads through the Adirondacks must have affected her. But the day ended well with a late dinner and a swim at the hotel.

Day Two began with a visit to the North Pole (Santa’s Workshop), a seemingly perfect activity for Six. However, it was a disappointment: overpriced and unimpressive. Two hours later, we were so ready to leave when Six realized she had lost her best friend – a brown sloth doll. Her tears and anxiety meant we had to trek throughout the park and search each building and ride for Slothy. Thirty minutes later, we found him curled up in the candy bag at the train depot.

Just before bedtime, Six began a gentle weeping that built into a crescendo of wails. She was homesick, and calling Mommy didn’t console her. She wanted to go home. We managed to survive the night, and the next morning Six was happy again, but I was ready to go home.

On Day Three, we headed to Whiteface Mountain to take a gondola up to the top. Just as we were about to board, Twelve became nauseous. I gave her an empty chip bag and told her to use it. When she recovered, we continued.

After the ride, we paid to enter an outdoor adventure area. I had no sooner handed over my cash when Six ran to climb a structure in the free zone. “Get back here,” I yelled. “Go play on the equipment I paid for.”

At dinner time, Six was not hungry and wouldn’t eat. At 9:30, just as we were ready to dress for bed, she said she was starving. I brought her to the hotel restaurant where she devoured a spaghetti dinner, and I relished a much-deserved beer.

On Day Four, after breakfast and a swim, we loaded the car. Our estimated time of arrival home was 6 p.m. Suddenly, Twelve realized she didn’t have her purse. We scoured the car and hotel. Nothing! As an extra measure, I emptied the contents of her suitcase onto the sidewalk in front of the hotel entrance. Nada!

Meanwhile, Six was weeping again. Once again, she couldn’t find Slothy.

Twelve thought she left the purse on the gondola ride. Twenty miles out of our way, we drove there to search and inquire. Niente! One hour into our trip home, she found her purse at the bottom of her knapsack.

The peace was short-lived, however. Suddenly a blood-curdling scream emerged from Six. I turned to see her distorted face as she choked out, “I have a leg cramp.” I begged her to stretch her leg for relief but she adamantly remained fixed. This, too, passed.

We got to their house at 9 p.m., where Mom and Dad were anxiously waiting. After an exchange of hugs and kisses all around, we drove to our home as I silently prayed for the continued well-being of the parental units.

And that trip to Paris? I should live so long.