Well, we made it to the beach this year for a lovely weekend getaway. It. was. wonderful. Sometimes a trip away from your daily chores and responsibilities is all you need to get a pair of fresh eyes. There were things I learned or re-learned. Here are the Top Ten:
1. Mike and I don't get enough time alone together.
Photo credit: Little Miss Chatterbox
I know how important it is for a wife and husband to get some time together, especially after kids come into the picture and need most of that time. We try to make time together, but usually in that time we are both tired and can only muster to sit and watch a movie in which one or both of us fall asleep during. To be able to put the kids to bed and have the whole night ahead of us, was my most favorite part of our trip. Sure, we do this at home, but at the beach we weren't worried about what the next day would bring, not worried about getting enough sleep for the work day, and were brought to life by the excitement of being in a new place and listening to the waves crash out our window. We stayed up late, drank together, played cards and most importantly, talked together. I felt like we were dating again. Except this time we got to wake up to three beautiful little faces. Three extraordinary little people who came to be because we share this love with each other.
2. I have awesome children.
I already new this. But like I said, sometimes when you see your family in a different environment you see things with a new pair of eyes. The things that made me proud were just an array of little things. Things that assure me that I'm not half as bad at this mother thing as I think I am. Like, hearing Little Miss Chatterbox say excuse me when someone had to walk around her as we strolled the boardwalk. Or Mr. Funny's eagerness to help us carry things down to the beach. Or Mr. Tickles wanting so much be around his big brother and sister and cover them with kisses. I love these kids. They're good kids.
3. Every child is different.
Duh. But it's so funny when they are practically complete opposites. Take Little Miss Chatterbox and Mr. Funny for example. Not only do they look completely different -her dark brown curly hair and dark brown eyes, resembling more of Mike's side of the family & him with his straight blond hair and blue eyes, resembling more of my side of the family- but they also have completely different personalities. For example, Little Miss couldn't stay away from the water. Mr. Funny couldn't keep far enough away from it. Little Miss couldn't wait to go eat crab legs. Mr. Funny slept through dinner and woke up at the end and asked for pizza. (He does not like sea food) I love to watch them as they grow and see their personalities take form. What a blessing.
Here they are in the water:
Little Miss Chatterbox lovin' it.
Mr. Funny scared outta his wits.
Mr. Tickles loved the water but didn't care for the seafood. I guess he's a mixture of the two?
4. Mr. Tickles isn't a baby anymore.
Nope. In a few days he'll be 18 months old. When did that happen? He's walking, he's talking, he's doing things all by himself. He stands his own when an older sibling tries to take something from him. He puts on his own shoes. He cleans up his messes. His new name could be Mr. Independent. Until Mom walks outta sight, of course. ;) But that is why I didn't want to move from this spot:
For a moment, he was my little baby again.
5. We found the perfect place to stay at the beach. The Pyramid.
We stayed there last year as well and really liked it. The balcony is a cement wall rather than only bars across. They have a parking garage close to the walk way leading to the beach so you can leave all your beach stuff in the car and grab it on your way. The rooms are spacious. It's easily recognized because of it's shape (can you guess what it looks like? Yup. A pyramid) so the kids could point it out if they got lost. It's close to the Catholic Church. And this year, we could actually see the Church from our balcony. How cool is that?
6. Kids remember things. And they like traditions.
There are Candy Kitchen stores everywhere you turn at Ocean City. So, last year, on our way out, we stopped at a Candy Kitchen store and I bought the kids some lollipops to eat on the way home. Sort of a last treat before it all ends. Well, they remembered. So a new tradition was born.
7. Little Miss Chatterbox will let me do her hair if she's distracted by television.
I have been battling with this girl her entire life over fixing her hair. She has a sensitive scalp and so the slightest pull makes her scream in pain. This makes it very difficult to french braid. Unless you have a T.V. on in front of her playing T.V. shows she never gets to watch. We don't have cable or satellite at home so there is no Nick Jr. or what have you. The kids LOVED Sponge Bob. When it came on they were just totally absorbed. Which is a big reason why we don't have it at home. We don't want couch potato kids! BUT- while in this absorbent, zombie-like stage Little Miss Chatterbox will let me touch her hair. She'll even sit still and stay silent while I french braid. It's like she's not even there. It's almost spooky.
8. I can be just as much of a worrywart as my mother. (No offense, Mom)
First it was the balconies on our 19th floor condo. I couldn't help but picture one of my children leaning over and then falling off. This little sticker didn't help seize my imagination.
Then there was the ocean. I worry about my kids drowning in any kind of water. But add huge waves and that worry multiplies. Then add your husband swimming out in those waves and your chest starts to hurt. Then add an experience where a wave knocked you down and you had a difficult time getting back above water which causes you to then imagine that happening to one of your kids if they were to get sucked out there and you're ready to go home. But sometimes you just gotta pray, hope and don't worry. Somehow, I managed to do that.
To top it all off, we decided to take the kids to an amusement park. There is nothing amusing about taking your 5 & 3 year old children on a farris wheel that has no seat belts and rocks with the slightest movement. Especially when your 5 & 3 year olds are very curious and want to stand up to look over the ledge. To make the day even more fun, Little Miss Chatterbox was tall enough to ride the roller coaster. But even when the bar was pushed down to hold us in, you could see how easy it would be for her little tiny body to slip right out.
I understand your paranoia, Mom! It's not easy being a mother and having your heart walk around outside of you.
Anyway, this brings me to my next lesson:
9. I'm getting old.
I remember when I loved amusement parks. I couldn't get enough of the different assortment of rides and the thrill of being twisted this way and that high above the ground. I hadn't been to an amusement park in nine years. For the past eight summers I've tried to make plans to go but they never worked out. So I was excited to finally have an opportunity to ride a roller coaster again. But to my surprise, I didn't enjoy it like I use to. I was happy when it was over and thankful to have my feet on the ground again. Maybe it was because I had my little girl with me and I was too concerned with her safety to have fun. Or maybe I'm just getting old. Probably a little bit of both. Either way, I won't be trying to add "Amusement Park" to our summer plans anymore. At least not until the kids are older.
and #10. We are so fortunate to be able to take a vacation together to the beach.
Well, we relaxed, we had fun, we enjoyed each others company and we had a great time getting away from it all. The kids are already asking "When can we go back to the beach?" Not soon enough, kids. Not soon enough.