Beth Vrabel lives in West Manchester Township with her daughter, Emma, 6, and son, Benny, 3.

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Make vacation planning a family affair

If you were queen (or king) for a day, what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you bring?

It’s tougher to figure out than you think.

Even harder: If you were minion to the queen (or king) for a day, could you make it through without complaining once?

When my husband and I sat down to talk about where to go and what to do for vacation this summer, we couldn’t come to an agreement. Of course, a week or two (or month or two) at Disney World would be incredible. But so would the expense.

I campaigned for a road trip through New England. Jon shrugged. He pushed for a week of rustic camping. I shuddered. As we talked about all the stuff we wanted to do — play on the beach, tour museums, animal watch at zoos, ride roller coasters, relax dockside, go crabbing — we quickly realized heading to one spot and trying to do all of these just wouldn’t work.

Someone was going to have to settle.

And that’s when we came up with an idea that just might be perfect. Or a disaster.

Each member of our family — including 6-year-old Emma and 3-year-old Benny — is going to get a day. On that day, he or she will be responsible for planning all activities, from what we eat to where we go to when we stop.

Two rules: It has to stay within our yet-to-be-determined budget and no one can complain.

The possibilities are endless! Going to Hersheypark; touring Washington, D.C.; biking the rail trail; shopping spree at IKEA; forcing everyone to sleep until 9 a.m.! I haven’t come close to deciding what to do on my day, but truthfully I’m just as excited to find out what the children have planned.

Of course, that excitement is tinged with a bit of nausea.

I imagine Emma will want to head to a show. Ever since we went to Radio City Music Hall in New York City before Christmas, she’s become a bit of a musical junkie.

But if she truly could have a day to plan anything, I think it might go something like this: Wake up before the sun, eat candy for breakfast, head to the mall and purchase something frilly and pink, wear said dress to school cafeteria for a special serving of rib-be-cue sandwiches (“Do you like ribs? Do you like barbecue? Rib-be-cue!”), head to a “Mamma Mia” show and sing-along, eat candy, follow up with a dance party in the living room, eat candy, go to a buffet where we will eat just the Alfredo pizza, watch “Phantom of the Opera,” eat candy, sleep in a pile in the living room.

Benny’s mind is a bit more of a mystery. He doesn’t just like certain things. He loves them with a passion usually reserved for martyrs or the way I regard the first cup of coffee in the morning. Our Benny day might be spent perpetually kicking a soccer ball up the hill and then chasing after it.

Or it might just be spent cutting scrap paper into teeny tiny pieces of confetti. And that’s it. “See this, Mama?” he’ll likely say. “Look at me, Mama.” Clip, clip, clip. Even when I put the safety scissors away, he takes two fingers and pretends to cut up things, such as my hair, my legs and the dog.

Speaking of which, the children want to know if Jasper also will get a day. His day might just be the most relaxing. If he could do anything he wanted, it would pretty much sleep on beds, followed by sleeping on couches, followed by sleeping on the floor. Just like any other day.

We’ll likely need this endless slumber after Jon’s day of camping, during which it will inevitably rain, the temperature will drop 20 degrees, dinner will catch fire, mosquitoes will feast upon us, the air mattress will deflate in the middle of the night and Jon will smile contentedly and say, “This is the life, isn’t it?”

And I won’t complain once. First, because it’s against the rules. Second, because my day is upcoming.