Over the past few weeks the girls and I have put on some major mileage and had so much fun and are basically squeezing all the adventure we possibly can out of these few precious weeks of summer our New England climate gives us. And summer is loving us back.
Brooklyn: We walked to three playgrounds in one day (!), I had too-much wine and wonderful catch-up time with my girlfriends (!!) and then we took a FERRY to HEAVEN (!!!) and it was so absurdly magical that I had a little lump in my throat for most of the weekend.
Parenting at the same time, in the same place, with old friends, is amazing. You see them in a best, new light. And you also see that you are the same to them, and they are the same to you, even though everything is different.
And. As with most things, once you are actually doing the thing, it just...unfolds. I was in a mild twist about having the girls in the car for so long and general traveling solo-parent-style. And, of course: There was a grating 45-minute stretch of whining (the mamuuuuh mamaaaaaah maaaamuuuh sob sob thing that makes one wish ears were never even invented) instigated by my darling eldest before she took her own trip to Nap-ville, at the beginning of the 3rd hour of driving on the way down. As per my "breaks every 2 hours" rule, we had just pulled back on the road from our Big Treat fast-food lunch when the whining began. I wanted to shove their new Minion toys (which Baby G. promptly christened "my pickle-bull" after "despicable") into my ears. But then my big girl gave in to her fatigue and slept the entire rest of the ride to the CT grandparents' house and proceeded to have the best times ever for the rest of the weekend. There was one night wherein we all couldn't fall asleep for shit, and then slept like crap. There was a terrifying thunderstorm on the way back during which I discovered 1., the wipers on the car are inadequate, 2., the defrost on the car is inadequate and 3., when you are on a busy highway and you can't see past the front of your car, and you just have to pull over praying that everyone will let you do so, your hands can shake so hard that it can take upwards of 15 minutes to calm them so they will not also be inadequate. I could have done without those parts, but then, we could have just not gone, and none of the good stuff would have happened either.
(BLOGGER LIFE PHILOSOPHY IN YOUR FACE.)
Portland, Maine (with beloved houseguests): Not one but TWO trips to the best ice cream shop/petting zoo ever. A golden afternoon at the beach. Magic-hour suppers on my back porch. Three adorable little girls playing together. Not one, not two, but THREE amazing good ol'fashioned late-night hangouts with my girlfriend who is, no contest, the best person in the world with whom to destroy your liver. Resultant hilarious hung-over parenting afternoons. And the aforementioned precious chance to share space with an old friend, who is also a (great) mom and a (great) wife.
I had a little Gretchen-Rubin-esque epiphany during that week. You know how some people just make you feel wonderful and like yourself? Your best self, in the most Oprah-manner of speech, but in an effortless way? These people are your "inflators" and you should cling to them always, and make them fly hundreds of miles to see you and your children. Guilt them into it, I don't care. Just get them into your space. And you should drive or fly hundreds of miles to see them, also. The other kind of people are "deflators" who make you feel bad and fuck them.That is what I learned that week.
Northport, Maine: For a few years now, my family has been heading up the coast of Maine for our family business's association retreat. This sounds like it should be boring, but it is not, not by a long shot. The first year, Little A. was just barely there: I had confirmed my pregnancy the very day before we drove 4 hours to Bar Harbor and I spent the whole weekend bobbing around in that heady mixture of joy and panic that is the beginning of pregnancy and also wondering if everyone would notice my avoidance of wine and blue cheese. This year, our fourth year, I finally got the whole weekend RIGHT. I hired one of Little A.'s beloved teachers, Miss Alicia, to babysit. My brother and his kids were also coming, and Miss Alicia knows them very well also. Alicia was fantastic all weekend - she required absolutely NO instruction, she was up for anything, and she can drive a golf cart. (I have a ridiculous inability to drive anything smaller than a car. So stupid! I need to get over it.) So, A+ childcare choice.
The drive up to the resort was rainy and sleepy, but the weather also meant very little traffic. I would only give myself an A- for transport because my car broke down that morning, all full of our stuff, but then I got to drive my dad's fancy Audi, so maybe I get just a regular A.
Friday evening there is always a lobster bake/ridiculous dance party. The girls were happy to learn the Macarena and hang in the bounce-house until bedtime (A- for much later than usual bedtime). My dad started drinking CC over ice at 6 pm and didn't stop until well after he had danced with my mother - TWICE - to "Blurred Lines." That was a scene, my friends, that I will never forget. I will never forget. I also might have taught my mother how to dance "Gangnam Style," but there was no video recording so let's just pretend it never happened. I might have been drinking rum. Weirdest-wedding-ever-dance-party: A+!
Poor Baby G. succumbed to a tummy bug overnight on Friday, so I spent the pre-dawn hours changing both of us out of multiple pairs of barfed-upon PJs. Friday-into-Saturday, I'm afraid, gets a D. But Saturday officially dawned bright and lovely and we all went to the beach (A) and with plenty of Tylenol and cuddles, by afternoon, the Baby was just fine (B+). And all the grownups went to a wine-tasting (A), which was fun except day-drinking should be followed either by more drinking or immediate napping and I did neither (C+) and by 9 pm that night I was DONE. My brother and his wife were DONE too, so they took me down the mountain in their golf cart, collected my nieces from my cabin, and we all went to bed early (A+). But that was OK too. We all slept like champions and drove home the next day without incident (A-).
Weekend cumulative average: A
And this weekend, well. For the first time ever, the Green Team is splitting up to have separate adventures. Little A. is spending the weekend with my parents, and has already told me that she is going to "take Nana on all the rides at Santa's Village because otherwise Nana might not have fun. And Grampa can take pictures." Baby G. is going to her first Red Sox game with her dad, CT grandparents, and uncle. And I am headed up the coast again for a little getaway of my own. This will be the first night I have spent away since Baby G was born. I am going to miss the dickens out of those girls but oh, oh, oh. SLEEPING IN and other adult-y things, how I have longed for thee.
I used to hate summer. Indoorsy, bookish nerds with an aversion to bare skin don't fare well with heat and sweat and tourists all around. But now I can see what all the hype is about: it's fun. FUN! Summer is a stupid and highly inappropriate Daft Punk song blasting out of your car window and all three of us girls singing along. Summer is ice cream dripping down your chin. Summer is the perfect light reflecting off the slick of low tide. Summer is a little black dress under fireworks. And I'm paraphrasing myself here, but around these parts, Summer 2013 is delivering fun, on all fronts.
So, what did you do on your summer vacation?