For the second year in a row, Mrs. Cutter and I took the family on a trip to Williamsburg, VA to visit the family resort Great Wolf Lodge. If you are unfamiliar with Great Wolf Lodge, it’s a giant hotel packed with children’s activities, including an indoor water park. Children absolutely love it. As for the parents….well, the children are generally happy.
While inside the water park, the difference between genders was on full display. There is one pool which features three small water slides, and the twins both spent a decent amount of time there. When the Cutlass was in the pool, she would take a slow, controlled trip down a slide, slowly wade her way to the side, and then cautiously ascend the stairs to take her next turn.
As for her twin brother…He started off by taking a running leap onto the slide. Then, upon seeing that other kids were going head first, backwards, and sideways, decided to copy their techniques. After reaching the bottom, he would head back to the top of the slide about as frantically as a child could move. He acted like it physically pained him every second he was not on the slide.
All of the kids enjoyed the water park, but if there’s a child who enjoyed himself more than Cujo did, I’d be somewhat frightened to meet him. The look of pure joy that was plastered to the boy’s face was amazing to behold. I told one of the lifeguards that they should use him for the brochure.
Unfortunately, these types of trips aren’t all smiles and water slides. Putting five people – including three children – in one hotel room isn’t always a smooth experience. Thanks to extreme exhaustion, bedtime actually went relatively well for the kids. It didn’t go so well for me.
Due to a dry room and dehydration, I somehow managed to cough myself awake at one point, and then discovered that sleeping on an unfamiliar bed with unfamiliar pillows wasn’t making my neck feel good. I eventually got back to sleep only to be woken up at 1:30 by the Cutlass who had developed a fever.
After a jaunt to the 24-hour Walmart down the road to buy some children’s ibuprofen, I attempted to return to sleep, only to be thwarted by Mrs. Cutter who picked a very bad night to develop a snoring problem. Thanks to my sleep headphones, I was able to block the sound out enough to get some sleep, but I wasn’t exactly feeling refreshed in the morning.
Shortly after, I took place in a ritual I like to call March of the Daddies. In the latter hours of the morning, throughout the resort, men – typically between the ages of 35 to 55 – will emerge from their hotel rooms. They will look fatigued – the type of fatigue you get after spending the previous day or two chasing small children around a water park, and then not getting enough sleep to recover.
These men will be grasping multiple suitcases in their hands, with perhaps an additional bag or two slung over their arms. One of the bags will inevitably bear the likeness of a popular cartoon character, and more often than not, it will be bright pink. In many cases, the men will also gripping an oversized stuffed animal.
The lucky ones will be unaccompanied; others will have a child (or two) by their side, asking repetitive questions about what they were doing, where they were going, or when they could go to back to the water park.
The men will slowly proceed from their rooms to the parking lot. Some may be able to take the stairs. The less fortunate will have to wait for the elevator, which will assuredly have a lengthy queue. In most instances, despite their bulky payloads, the men will require multiple trips to get everything into the car.
Once the luggage and other supplies have been loaded, and the car’s doors have been slammed shut, the men will let out a sigh of relief and enjoy a brief moment of relaxation. The moment is all too brief, because even though this stage of the March of the Daddies is complete, for most fathers, the March never truly ends.