Thursday, May 14, 2009

Road TRIP!!!!

Noah was so excited to get the bag of Hand-me-downs that I had stored in his closet. He is getting old enough to remember Luke wearing these clothes, or at least have seen pictures of him in them. It makes Noah feel like one of the ‘tweens when he proudly wears them.

He is drawn to a lime green t-shirt with an alphabet of things aquarium: Aquarist to zebra shark. He must have seen pictures of both Luke and Bekah wearing this shirt. I had picked it up for Bekah when she was 4 and we were in Connecticut at the Mystic Aquarium.

I am from Connecticut, born and bred. I am proud of my New England heritage, especially living in the Mid West. It’s great here, a wonderful place to raise children . I have been a Midwesterner since Brian and I wed in 1991. But if you ask me where I am from, where I feel at home, I will say New England.

When my first two were young we traveled back there every summer. By the age of 3 both of my kids were experienced travelers due to these East Coast pilgrimages of mine. At one point, I was taking one child for a week, leaving the other with Daddy and Grandma here in Kansas City . I would leave my clothes at my parents home, take the child back to KC, and fly back the next day with the other for another week. It sounds crazy, but it was 4 round trip airfares, the same price as if our family of 4 traveled to CT. The kids had time alone with not only me, but with my birth family, extended family and family like friends on the East Coast.

Brian is not from New England. He is a Midwest guy. He and the ocean are not one. He doesn’t crave lobster and has never been to a Clam Bake. Going to visit my parents one bathroom, un air-conditioned Victorian home wasn’t a vacation for him. He only went when he had to. I would spend my time with my parents and brothers feeling drawn between having fun with them and making sure Brian was having a good time. Taking the kids by myself worked out best for everyone.

The summer we went to the Mystic Aquarium I had taken both kids for the same time. 2 full weeks at my parents house. Bekah was 4, Luke was almost 3. Bekah was very excited to go to the aquarium, She had heard great things about it, and wanted to see all the creatures. After what felt like a long day spent in just a a few hours of preparing, travel, and lunch we finally paid our admission and walked through the gates. Greeting us was a 12 foot high glass pool containing the sea creatures that were the big draw: Beluga whales. She had heard the song, seen the pictures-- heck , we had past a poster advertising them as we waited in line a few minutes ago. What she was not prepared for was the size and the closeness of them.

I was concentrating on herding a wild 3 yr old, not paying attention to the independent 4 yr old walking with my mother. The 4 yr old who first froze in freight, then took off in flight when she spotted the whales right in front of her and staring back . Right out the entrance and into the parking lot she went , screaming at the top of her lungs and running for her life.

I’m not sure how I passed Luke off to my mother as I tore off after Bekah. I can not recall how I got her calmed down. I have zero recollection of the words that it took to get her to go back . Maybe she was smart enough to read between the lines of my “ Darling, we need to go back in, Luke and Grandma M’am need us” to hear “ get you fanny back in there!! I just paid 25 bucks for you to see all the creatures of the sea and damnit, you will!” But, back in she went. mustering courage she got close up to the Belugas and all the other marine life. She loved it and she picked out the t-shirt to remember the day.

And now, I pass this shirt down to Noah. But he does not possess the memories of where it came from. Noah has never been to Connecticut. He has never been out of the Kansas City Metro area. Life got in the way of our annual vacation. We have not been back to New England since that trip. 4 year old Bekah is turning 13 this September. The wild 3- year old Luke will be 11 in a few weeks.

Not back ...until this summer. Right now, my dear Mother-in-law has agreed to undertake a road trip to my home turf with me and my older two children. My mother will be flying out to make the trip with us. 3 women and 2 Tweens. Noah will stay with Daddy. One day he will have his turn, but this trip is for those of us who do not require carseats or constant entertainment.

We are still in the planning stages. Still contemplating our route. Still wondering what life might throw at us to make the trip just a dream.

But if all goes well, in a couple of months I will hit the road with the two most important woman in my life, and my first and second born children. Daddy, who does not like to travel, will stay home and take care of the dogs and have one on one time with the Tiny Tot. If all goes as planned all of us should have the summer vacation that we dream of. Maybe we will bring Noah back a new T-shirt.

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