Saturday, August 12, 2006

Vacation... dream on

Today, the blog begins. The previous postings are some background, already published essays out there in the world of small literature magazines no one has heard of with the circulation of 1500 where once a writer’s story won an award from the community newspaper for excellence in local humor. I’ve already had a friend email asking if I was planning on a fourth child.


I have three children. Three boys.

You know me. You’ve sat next to me on a plane, plopped down beside me at the beach, watched in horror as I was lead through a maze of tables at the restaurant till I was seated right next to you. I’m the lady with three kids- no, not just three kids, not just three kids under the age of eleven, but three boys under the age of eleven. And while it may seem unfair to you, please understand, I occasionally leave the house with them. I’ve heard you huff under your breath but until that particular law is passed, I get to have dinner out. Don’t worry- they’ve all had their shots. I’m not, however, vouching for the stuff oozing from their noses. I’m staying away from that- you should too.

Right now vacation is on my mind. I stayed home with my boys for almost ten years. Ten years as a housewife. One mom recently said to me, while making the trek between her full time job as a physician, her son’s baseball games and her twin daughters pick up at daycare, where’s my tiara? Do I get a tiara for this? I feel as though I need a tiara, or a straight jacket for the ten years I spent at home being a mom 24/7.

Sure, I’m still a mom 24/7 but now I go to work. And get paid. And work is like a going to a spa compared to being a stay at home mom. Please don’t tell my boss. She gets wind of how I really feel, my next salary negotiation may not go so well.

But now, I get vacation. Paid vacation. And mine is coming up in a week. Something to look forward to, right?

What I really want to do is have a vacation- a real vacation. I want to walk down the beach alone, with no one asking for a piggy back ride, winging sand at elderly (and usually slow until they see my children) walkers, or pegging endangered Terns with broken sea shells. I want to saunter slowly. I want to check out the attractive beach goers without watching in horror as my eleven-year-old son Ben is staring at the same woman I am.

The last time we were at the beach together, he wouldn’t stop staring at two, very young, bikini-clad women lying on their stomachs.

Ben! I finally said.
What? He said, horrified I noticed.
Stop staring.
But they are sticking their butts up in the air!

For the record, they were not sticking their butts up in the air. Not that I was looking, too.

Is it ever really vacation when you go with your children? Seriously. Why do we do it? It is my choice after all, to come to the beach with forty tons of equipment, and rip shoulder muscles out trying to get it to a clear spot. I know what my children are going to do when they get there. I know there will be no rest. But I also know there are moments, when we all sit down for lunch under the umbrella on the beach, and laugh about how the waves knocked us down, or how our castle was ruined by the incoming tide, that creep into my brain and somehow take a much bigger piece of space than all the hard work of the trip. I remember sitting with Zachary, my middle son, in my lap and watching his face as fireworks light up the sky- not how he whined loudly and constantly, during the entire time waiting for the show to start.

I remember Ben’s first lobster, his joy at dipping the white meat into the melted butter and actually liking it, not him playing the with shells afterwards, accidentally flinging the green innards onto the sweater of some poor woman sitting next to us. I remember Jake as a baby running towards the water and stopping dead in his tracks when the cold hit his feet, bouncing up and down on his pudgy legs, yelping in surprise and delight, not the later rendition performed in his crib at three AM, making sure not to stop until we all saw his prowess. My brain doesn’t seem capable of remembering with the same intensity the awful stuff as it does the wonderful, hold in my heart forever kind of stuff. In short, I’m an idiot.

Vacation will have to wait another week. Tonight, we have a birthday party. Five 8 and 9 year old boys are going to have a sleep over in the tent we have set up outside. I’m sure by eleven o’clock tonight I will need the straight jacket, not the tiara. Stay tuned.


Blogger JC said...

OK, so your blog doesn't allow anonymous comments so I had to log in... I guess that is a good thing...

Vacation is a great thing and I know in ten years you will be wishing you had to drag ten tons of stuff down that beach again. Just think, you can make the boys do that for you when you are 80...

9:26 AM  

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