Since my oldest son will leave home in August to attend Texas A&M, I insisted that my family take a spring break vacation together.
Destination: Colorado, where the plan was to rent a home with friends, ski by day, and hold hands and sing Kumbaya by night.
The husband and kids were excited about hitting the slopes, but not so much about the other part.
Still, as soon as the kids got out of school Friday, we loaded up three vehicles with all the important things like ski gear, snacks, iPhones, iPads and various chargers to keep us connected to the world beyond the Rocky Mountains and hit the road.
The 13-hour trek was particularly difficult for my daughter who doesn't have an
iPhone, poor baby, and couldn't update her Facebook status for one whole day. Before you turn me into CPS, however, please note that we do dress her in clean clothes, feed her on a regular basis and allow her to have an iPad.
When we finally arrived at our home-away-from-home located at the base of the mountain, my daughter grabbed her iPad and ran into the house in search of Wi-Fi.
After several attempts to fire up Facebook, she moaned, "Colorado doesn't have Wi-Fi," then collapsed on the bed. The discovery that there was no cell phone service sent her spiraling into despair.
Fearing our vacation was off to a not-so-great start, I reminded her that we were surrounded by beautiful mountains covered in snow and had only each other for five glorious days.
My spiel did little to lift her spirits.
The next morning we trudged our way to the ski resort where I felt smugly confident that I would soar down the slopes with the same ease I had enjoyed in years past.
I was wrong.
My first attempt to exit the ski lift was a little late, prompting me to jump off the seat, hit the snow with a resounding thud and skid down the mountain with one pole and one ski sliding in the opposite direction.
It was ugly.
My children watched in stunned horror as my husband scrambled to dig me out of the snow and make sure I hadn't broken a leg.
I'm pretty certain he didn't want to carry me down the mountain.
After gathering my runaway ski gear and crawling out of the snow, I finally managed to put myself back together and head down the slope.
By the end of the day, every muscle in our bodies ached (especially mine) and we all limped back to the house without Wi-Fi.
I secretly worried the kids would get bored.
But after a long soak in the hot tub and dinner by the fire, the entire group - kids, teens and adults - gathered around the pool table for some serious competition.
And for the rest of the trip no one thought about Facebook or what was happening back home.
For five glorious days, the sounds of chirping texts and irritating ring tones were silenced by good old-fashioned fun, the kind that involves games, lots of laughter and face-to-face conversation.
All vacations should be Wi-Fi free.
Sara Vanden Berge is the managing editor of the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at 968-2379 ext. 240.