Goodbye, Summer

I feel like a petulant teenager on the night before school.

I don’t want summer to be over. I don’t want summer to be over. I don’t want summer to be over.

Granted, it’s still seasonally summer, and the temperatures agree. 93 degrees is no fall-like day. Despite what the mercury says, our summer ends tonight. Tomorrow both boys go back to school.

BigBrother will head downstairs to the Big Kids Class, an air of confidence about him that comes from having two years of preschool already under his belt and the knowledge that he is almost five. Five is apparently a magical number and being said age in preschool is like being a senior in high school. He is Big News.

LittleBrother will head upstairs for the first time, a bit more tentatively than his older brother. This will be the first time that LittleBrother does anything more than hang out with mommy and daddy without his brother’s presence. I have no reason to believe that he won’t be okay, though he did admit that he was scared the other day before we made our way to his classroom for orientation. I think once he saw the toys, including two classic Buzz Lightyears, he forgot to be afraid. I wish it was that easy for me.

After I drop the boys off at school, I’ll likely meet my friends for coffee — a weekly treat during the school year — instead of packing away our summer. I still need to wash the bathing suits from vacation. They’ve already been washed once, but they dried on the deck railing of our beach house and they smell like sunshine and ocean breeze. I keep thinking that if I never wash out that smell, I’ll feel less forlorn during those long winter months where sunshine and warmth are at a premium.

We have enjoyed ourselves so much this summer, from bubbles to water guns to camp to the beach to geocaching to relaxing. FireDad and I got to fully enjoy the deck that we built last summer. I am bummed that it is over for us. We are no longer free to travel as we have all summer long. We are tied down by schedules that are not our own. When I think that next summer will be even shorter thanks to the realities of kindergarten, well, I get even more upset. So I won’t think that way.

I will instead work on our annual beach trip photo book when I’m not working. And reminisce about the happy times. But not too much. Something tells me that the next season of our lives will bring some fun, too.

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How could it not?

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[Tomorrow we’ll be in a rush. Tell me what you do during the Breakfast Squeeze for a chance at $100.]

 

Land Of Nod: Design for Kids and People That Used to be Kids

The Misadventures of a Family Vacation

I suppose it happened because I defended family vacations in a BlogHer post that was syndicated by the Today Show blog. Perhaps someone, somewhere, who had one of those Worst Vacations Ever read my post, pulled out a voodoo doll and stuck pins in it all week long. Maybe it was karma for being too smug.

I mean, sure, things had gone wrong while we were on vacation. BigBrother got a splinter in his toe. I managed to get a sunburn on my belly since my stomach hasn’t seen the sun since 2002. My mom got hit by a monster wave and lost her sunglasses and favorite pink hat. I caught a bagel on fire and made the smoke detector go off before everyone was awake. I got a computer virus (it got fixed) and lost an entire memory card to it (it was not fixed). The cheap shirts we bought for the boys at Wings ruined with the first washing. There were some minor disagreements.

But, really, I was smug. Because despite all of those minor inconveniences, which mostly ended up being humorous in the end, our vacation was amazing. As we made the long drive back home, FireDad and I were rehashing how great our week had been. Just enough sun and heat, with a rain shower here and there that made us go inland to the awesome Maritime museum. Really, really good food. I got in some nice almost three mile runs. The moon was full and my husband and I enjoyed a cliched moonlit walk on the beach. We laughed at stories and new memories we created. We talked about plans for next year. Yes, we were feeling smug.

And then our truck sputtered and stalled on VA-37 just outside Winchester, Virginia. Which, by the way, is the birth place of Patsy Cline. That didn’t make me feel any better.

I might have cried. More than once. My husband had that feeling where you know you aren’t going to throw up but you know it would feel better if you did. What went wrong with our truck (fuel pump) and how much it cost us to get it fixed ($$$) doesn’t really matter.

Because somewhere in the gloom and doom of a totally unplanned (and expensive) misadventure, we learned a few things.

  • Being safe is all that matters. When I called my parents’ cell phone, who had just split off from us to head their direction home, my mom’s initial fear was that we had been in an accident. We had all witnessed and nearly been involved in a bad accident earlier in the day on I-95. A broken down car is a billion times better than an accident in which someone gets hurt.
  • Children think misadventures are grand adventures. We had never stayed in a hotel with the boys prior to being stranded along side the road. They jumped on the bed (normally way off limits), watched baseball in bed and ate Captain Crunch at the coffee table in the morning. They thought it was super swell. I have to admit… the bed was mighty comfy.
  • The kindness of strangers is amazing and uplifting. Shortly after we coasted to a stop, a truck pulled up behind us. The wife was driving while the husband was spotting deer. They waited with us not just until my parents arrived, but actually drove my brother and sister-in-law to the nearest hotel in a caravan as we were short seats without the truck. They refused a monetary tip and disappeared into the growing night. The hotel went out of their way to help us, even allowing us a late checkout without an additional fee as our truck was still being worked on. The bartender gave me a double for the price of a single when she heard our story. I greatly appreciated that gesture.
  • There’s no place like home. Once the truck was running and we hit the road — tentatively — we made good time on our last — belated — leg home. I’ve never been so happy to see our city. I’ve also never been so happy to walk in my front door. Or sleep in my own bed.

And so, while the voodoo doll sticker might have thought she was going to derail my whole vacation, she was sadly mistaken. Yes, it was an expensive side trip. Yes, I would have rather just made it home when we initially planned to do so. But it didn’t ruin our vacation. We’re already laughing about it. It’s now just another funny story in our long-list of funny stories from Vacation 2010. I’ll include a couple pictures in our annual photo book. In 20, 30 or 40 years, we’ll start off a story, “Remember that time we broke down on the way home from the beach?

A Family Beach

And I hope I do.