Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A week away

It was cool. It was windy. The clouds were dark and threatening to burst open at any moment. Forecasters and sociologists alike were already declaring Sunday the 8th as the "least fun" day of August, and even the dogs in most neighborhoods felt the weather was unsuitable for going out and playing fetch. Naturally, this was the day we decided to take Kyle to a real beach for the first time.

We had been looking forward to this moment, in part because it was the start of our vacation, and in part because I love the chafing feeling of sand on my clothes. No gloomy skies were going to stop us from going. I was determined to put Kyle in the ocean and make him enjoy it, even if we'd both get numb in the process.

Kyle did not seem to know what to make of the beach experience, since this was his first time dealing with sand. Earlier in the day he tried to prepare for it, sitting on some dirt and having a pleasant experience with a few pebbles. He even tried to eat these pebbles, which, to him, were more appetizing than the peas and carrots he's been refusing for weeks. But sand was different. Sand's pebbles are tiny, sticky, and inescapable. Kyle tried at first to avoid the sand by attempting to jump over the gap between our beach blankets. This was difficult, considering that Kyle has yet to learn how to jump. It probably didn't help that we were all staring and pointing at him.

Eventually Kyle grew comfortable with the sand, though he did not know what to make of his dad's frequent attempts to bury his legs. And, yes, he did go into the water, though just his feet. He'll wait to try surfing next year, I suppose.

The next day Jennifer and I were in Chicago. We wanted to escape the city, so we figured this would be the natural place to do it. Notice I did not say "Kyle, Jennifer and I." That's because, upon arriving in the Windy City, we realized we had left the little guy back at my parents' place. He was safe, though the extra attention he received during his stay has given him a superiority complex that make take months to undo.

Meanwhile, we were just marveling at the ability to travel without a child in tow. Those who do not have children don't quite understand the pleasure of taking a trip with just your spouse. Trust me, I didn't understand during the years before Kyle. Suddenly we were able to pack all of our things in one suitcase. We were able to sleep until 8 a.m. We had a streak of dinners without a single Cheerio assault. Chicago was full of life, and we were willing to live it, touring downtown, visiting the Sears (Willis) Tower and Wrigley Field, eating deep dish pizza, and riding the subway without having to wait for an attendant to open that door to let strollers through. At times it even took us less than 10 minutes to get ready and leave our hotel room. It was truly a paradise... except for that annoyance of actually missing our kid.

Oh, the plight of new parents! Even though you love your little one dearly, you get excited for that opportunity to "be free" for a little while, but when you get that opportunity to be free, you spend a good amount of time missing the little one. While we never forgot him, at first we reveled in our ability to go someplace late in the evening and walk out of the hotel without a diaper bag. But shortly into our trip, things would start reminding us of the little guy. We'd hear a baby cry and think of Kyle. We'd see little blond-haired boys in the park and see our little guy. We'd hear some drunk at Wrigley blabbering away and hear our boy's drivel in our heads. Yep, we missed him.

It did help to know that Kyle was having a great time with his grandparents. We would have felt more guilty going out and having fun if the little guy were someplace else, like prison. Each day my mom let us know just how much he was enjoying his time with them, by teasing us with adorable pictures of the little guy going food shopping, playing on the couch, and washing the car (that one is dear to my heart).

(Above: Kyle applies the wax before scrubbing the tires and vacuuming the interior)

By the time we returned Thursday we were pathetic parent puddles, ready to see him. While I am not looking forward to him becoming a wise-ass teenager, it certainly will make vacations away much easier.

The week wrapped up far away from city life, up in the woods of New Hampshire, where my cousins had a small family reunion. By "small" I mean the people were small: there were at least five little kids there, though it often felt like there were more, considering how fast they moved from room to room. When the adults weren't changing, feeding, or protecting their kids from bears, they were... well, I don't know. Jennifer and I were too busy changing, feeding, and protecting our kid from bears. In the evening, after the kids were in bed, we all sat outside by the fire, which illuminated our bare skin, allowing easy tracking for mosquitoes, who feasted as well as we did earlier in the day. Throughout the night, we talked, laughed, and discussed some of the important questions of life, such as "what do you get when you cross a horse and a moose?" Deep conversations like these could happen only in the back woods.

On Sunday New York welcomed us back with open arms, and one of the worst traffic jams I've seen in a long time. Everybody was coming back from vacation at once. We were feeling completely unoriginal. Next time, to avoid traffic, we'll have to be more spontaneous, perhaps by going to a New England beach in January. Maybe we'll have better weather then.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Glad you guys had a great time away from the little one... every parent needs a break now and then! :)