Taking Your Daughter On Vacation, No Matter What the Judge Says
Have you and your daughter been drifting apart? Growing up is tough and can put a strain on a mother-daughter relationship, as can the mania and depression caused by your bipolar disorder. What better way to bridge the divide than to whisk her away on the tropical road trip of a lifetime! Sure, you could go to the Amalfi Coast, the South of France, or the Mediterranean, but have you ever been to Orlando? Well, we have an insider’s guide to Orlando’s hidden treasures beyond the tourist theme parks, as well as a bonus guide to Everglades National Park, just a quick 257 mile jaunt down the highway, that offers some of the best bonding opportunities a huge swamp in the middle of nowhere has to offer.
The first stop in Orlando is Stonewall Jackson Middle School to pick up your daughter. (Add “a deep dive into the social ramifications of naming a school after a Confederate general” to the list of road-trip discussion topics!) Make sure to park down the street, out of sight of the school, as your access has been revoked since the custody ruling last month. As your daughter walks toward the home where she lives with your ex-husband, Frank, she’ll see you tailing her and of course get in the car – you are her mother, after all! When she asks what you’re doing here since you’re not allowed unsupervised visits anymore, tell her that you don’t need permission to see your own child, no matter how many judges ruled to the contrary! You’re taking her on a surprise mother-daughter bonding trip to anywhere she wants to go. Just name it, Stephanie! Where should we go? She may say she’s actually happy to just go home because she has to study for a big test and has soccer practice all week, but once she sees how seriously you’re taking this bonding road trip, she’ll change her tune.
Pit stop #1
Next stop, the quickest goddamn stop ever for your daughter to pee and pack a bag while you wait outside with the engine running. HURRY UP, STEPHANIE. Time is of the essence, and she should grab her passport just in case you decide to fly to Europe, or better yet, China or Russia or somewhere you can’t be traced and the government couldn’t care less about child abduction. When your daughter gets back in the car with her suitcase and Frank pulls up, gets out, and starts shouting and running towards your car, DON’T PANIC. DO NOT PANIC AND DEFINITELY DO NOT HIT THE GAS, HURTLING TOWARD YOUR EX-HUSBAND AT FULL SPEED, RUNNING HIM OVER, THEN BACKING UP AND RUNNING HIM OVER AGAIN. AND CERTAINLY DO NOT REPEAT THIS THREE MORE EXCRUCIATING YET EXHILARATING TIMES UNTIL YOUR EX-HUSBAND FRANK IS DEAD.
Okay, this was supposed to just be a trip for mother and daughter, but it looks like Dad is coming along, too. Oh, well! We can go with the flow! Get your daughter to help you load him into the trunk and get her to stop crying by giving her a handful of diazepam. It’s always raining in this godforsaken state and the blood is washing right off, thank Shiva, Oprah, Gwyneth Paltrow, and all the other gods! This is gonna be okay. Deep Ujjayi breaths in and out through the nose, Om Shanti, you’ve got this.
Where to Shop
You and your daughter will need full disguises. I think there’s a Walmart around here somewhere – GODDAMMIT, FRANK, YOU’RE RUINING MY LIFE! – where you can buy hair dye and cheap, ill-fitting generic clothing to blend into your surroundings, so just keep calm and GPS it quickly because you’ll need to turn your cell phone off soon. Better yet, run over it with your car! Ha! Too soon, sorry.
Where to Eat
Fuck! I don’t know, who cares! Drive thru Orlando’s “World’s Largest McDonald’s”; whatever! Why are you even hungry right now, Stephanie? The body of your dead father is in the trunk. Eat some more diazepam and chill out.
Everglades National Park
You’re almost home-free. You’ve been driving south down the east coast of Florida all day at exactly the speed limit. Your daughter might medically be considered comatose but you’ve got your diaper on, the tunes are cranked, and your hair is blowing in the wind. There have been worse road trips! Now you’re on the desolate two-lane strip of highway called Alligator Alley that plows straight through the Everglades, connecting the east and west coasts of Florida. It’s nighttime, and there are no street lamps. There are no cars on the road. You are alone in the middle of 1.5 million acres of primeval marshland full of giant, bloodthirsty, prehistoric reptiles. You pull off and pop the trunk, and as you lean over to shake your daughter (hopefully!) awake, you reflect on how lucky you are. This is hands down the most exciting mother-daughter adventure you’ve ever had!
Congratulations, Mom. She’ll never forget this trip.