White Lotus Goes to Rocky Point

Woo hoo! I did it! I survived spring break!

That may not sound particularly impressive until I explain that I survived supervising spring break, as in, I was one of about a dozen parents voluntarily chaperoning 18 year olds in Mexico, where the legal drinking age is — what a coincidence! — 18! We banded together, with a common goal to keep our kids and their friends safe, which by our definition meant no jail, avoid alcohol poisoning, stay hydrated and to get out of the country with all of their fingers and toes intact and just enough remaining brain cells to earn passing AP Exam scores.

There was a story in the paper the other day about how Americans’ lifespans have continued to drop in recent years. I guarantee you supervised spring break is why.  

It was the longest 3½ days of my life.

Never ever, 18 short years ago, did I imagine as I gazed at my newborn son’s face that one day he’d grow up and I’d be watching him, bleary eyed and shirtless, drinking berry-flavored Seagram’s for breakfast and partying with his friends in Mexico. It’s just not one of the things they prepare you for in those prenatal classes, ya know?

I’d basically been in a constant state of flight-or-fight since a friend alerted me back in October that spring break in Mexico is A THING at our kids’ school. The boys were already plotting.

We counterplotted by banding together with other likeminded adults and while there was a bit of initial blowback over what was deemed “parental interference” (um, it’s called  PARENTING, kids!), in the end everyone agreed to the ground rules. Not gonna lie, a big part of me was hoping that the kids would get all huffy and decide not to go rather than meet our terms. I am not and have never been that lucky.

I nearly had a Get Out Of (Mexican) Jail Free card when I discovered a mere week before departure that our spring breaker’s passport had just expired. But, as much as I dreaded this adventure in parenting, I also didn’t want him to miss out because of a dumb mistake, so I stubbornly spent two days nonstop calling the passport office until I was able to secure an appointment to get an expedited passport for $225.

With that huge hurdle cleared, I finally had to admit spring break was really happening and that I needed to pack. Because I am crazy neurotic sanity challenged, along with my regular reading glasses and reading sunglasses, I hid at the bottom of my weekender bag a fat, $100 wad of crisp dollar bills specifically for shakedown money. I figured that tall stack would look impressive enough to buy our freedom when we got swarmed by a fleet of dusty black SUVs after immediately crossing into Mexico*.

And while I paid very close attention to detail prepping for imaginary scenarios, planning for real life suffered because I brought only tops and failed to pack any bottoms to wear and while that’s fine if you’re 18, it’s really not fine if you’re a card-carrying AARP member, which, by the way, is not one of the forms of legitimate documentation to cross back into the U.S. 

It didn’t help that every person I dared to tell about this impending spring break trip had a fun story to share — there was the kid who needed to be airlifted to an American hospital after an ATV accident, a couple of boys hauled off to jail on bogus charges and one family was chased in their car for miles by a policeman who wanted a bigger bribe. Also not helping things: the billboard just past the border for a Mexican restaurant urging people to go and eat there because “fat people are harder to kidnap.” 

Really, Mexico?

And so I was totally primed for “The White Lotus: Puerto Penasco.”

Instead, things were pretty tame. The worst that happened? Security showing up at our condo shushing us parents at 10:30 p.m. because we were out on the balcony chatting and laughing too loudly.  

And yeah, I was not expecting to cook regularly for 20-plus people (instead of smelling all tropically like coconuts, I was garlic Pig-Pen), but I also got to hang out with friends, make new ones and see pretty spectacular sunsets. Plus, I found some nifty shells on the beach.

Even better, I’m very pleased to say that I get to go back to the bank and deposit $100 in ones.

*Is it obvious I watched all the seasons of “Narcos”?

You haven’t lived until you’ve made 13 pounds of guacamole.
You could tell teenage boys were staying here by the telltale sign of abandoned socks everywhere… Oh, and the beer bottle cap.

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