Vacations with the Mom-ster

(Originally published 8/20/2012. Edited and revised 5/1/2022)

When I was a young kid, around fourth grade, Mom-ster started planning vacations for her and dad – of course, I had to go because my siblings had moved out and there was no one available to “watch” me.

These trips canceled any trips to PA to visit family that we always made during dad’s summer break from work.

These vacations revolved around Antique and Collector Doll or Disney conventions and had “written in stone” itineraries that Mom-ster was very strict about. The only thing that resembled a vacation was that we were away from home. 


Everything, including vacations, always revolved around what Mom-ster wanted to do, after all.


Vacations with the Mom-ster were far from being fun – they were more like a prison I couldn’t escape. I was stuck in a hotel room with them, and there was nowhere to hide from Mom-ster and her vicious, venomous words.

The first of these new vacations was a road trip to Kansas City, MO for a doll convention. We also made stops in Springfield, IL, Hannibal, and St.Louis, MO.

While at the convention, Mom-ster put on a great act for everyone, as always, and all I heard from people was how lucky I was to be with my parents at a show like this. Dad and I were bored for the most part, but this is what Mom-ster wanted and what Mom-ster wants, she always gets.

All I wanted to do was to go back to the hotel and get in the pool and enjoy time with dad. That would be a great vacation.

When we visited St. Louis, we went to the famed St. Louis Gateway Arch. As we got ready to go into the elevator to ascend to the top of the arch, Mom-ster made comments about the weight limit and how we might not make it to the top because I was so fat.

The elevator was very loud making its journey to the top and Mom-ster whispered (loudly enough that others in the elevator could hear) to me, “see what your fat body is doing to this elevator?” Once we reached the top, I couldn’t fully enjoy the view because Mom-ster said I might throw off the balance of the arch; I tried to stay in the middle of the room.

I saw the stairway exit, and I was more than ready to take the 1,076 stairs down, just so I didn’t have to ride in the rickety elevator again with Mom-ster. 

While in Springfield, we visited Abraham Lincoln’s house and museum. Mom-ster of course knew more than the tour guides and would interject during the commentary.

Nobody likes a know-it-all, Mom-ster.

The second trip we took was to California for a Disney convention. That should have been the highlight of my childhood, going to Disneyland, but it wasn’t.

The only part I extremely enjoyed, and I think dad did as well, was riding the Alice in Wonderland teacups with Mom-ster.

Dad sat that ride out to take pictures around the park, not of us, because Mom-ster hated her picture being taken.

Needless to say, once the ride began, I spun that teacup as fast as my hands could turn the little table in the middle of the cup! Mom-ster was very dizzy and sick when we finished the ride. I wore a grin on my face as big and wide as the Cheshire Cat; I often think that is why my dad would always buy and give me Cheshire Cat toys, even well into my adult years. Unfortunately, after that stunt in the teacups, the rides part of our trip was almost null and void. 

That was the most memorable time I ever had in any Disney park and was even worth getting yelled at and my ass beat for it when we got back to the hotel later that night. I went to sleep that night with the Cheshire Cat grin planted on my face – so worth it!

The following fall, we went on vacation to another Disney convention, this time it was in Orlando, FL.

I was in parochial school when this happened, so this trip certainly didn’t help my case that I was being abused. No one understood that they had to take me, and believe me, I heard that daily from Mom-ster before, during, and after the trip.

As we walked through the park and I jokingly pointed over at the teacups ride and said, “Hey mom, wanna go for another spin?” She hit me with her purse and said, “I don’t find that very funny!” I mumbled, “I do,” under my breath. I wore my Cheshire Cat grin for a little while afterward and I swear I remember dad chuckling under his breath, too.

On this vacation, I managed to escape the dreaded Mom-ster itinerary and took off around Disney World on my own.

I rode Space Mountain about five times that day. I knew what time and where to meet up with Mom-ster and dad, because we had gone over the itinerary earlier that day in the hotel room, then again in the car on the way to the park.

Sure, I didn’t have money to eat or drink anything, but the freedom I felt was amazing. I got in trouble when we met up, of course, for separating from them, but it was worth it.

I hate itineraries. A vacation is supposed to be a time to kick back and enjoy yourself.

I had a very hard time when I was planning my trip to Italy in 2011. It brought back memories of “vacations” with Mom-ster. I didn’t want to make an itinerary, but I knew I had to if I was going to use my time there wisely.

I did follow one, but not to the point of OCD. I basically planned what I wanted to see each day, and went from there with it. There were no time frames, no getting stressed or frantic if I missed seeing something I had written. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to, but that’s what subsequent trips are for.

I wish I had a picture of Mom-ster and me on the teacups that day in Disneyland. I would frame that picture and put it on my wall. I still smile big and wide like the Cheshire Cat when I recall that day.

The score from that day on the teacups was: Mom-ster – 0, Me – 1,000,000+