Saturday, January 10, 2009

Roll It Over

Every year we say, “this is the last year,” and then we go back again. But this really is the last one, at least for a while, at least for this particular week. Madison is in third grade next fall and finally too old to pull out of school right after the holiday break. Maybe too old already, but we’ve continued to stick with The Program.

The first installment of this annual family vacation was six years ago, Ava was on the brink of turning 1 and Madison about to turn 3. When we look back at that trip we can't imagine what we were thinking. I remember packing (more like watching Gwen pack) and looking at everything we were bringing and wondering how we were going to be able to get it all from our front door to the car, let alone through the airport and ultimately to our destination. Somehow we made it.

Early years of this trip were all kiddie pools, mid-afternoon naps, strollers, bottles and diapers (regular and swimmy), kids falling asleep at rushed dinners after mild tantrums and having to be carried home. I used to be able to volunteer for nap duty and smoke a Monte #1 and drink a Balashi on the hotel balcony while a little one (or two) slept inside. Before they knew what a cigar was or would have thought to ask. Those days are gone, and so are the Cubanos. The Balashis endure.

It’s been an incredible vacation every year, which is probably why we haven’t stopped going. At nearly 6 and close to 8, Ava and Madison are in that sweet spot between having to have every moment enabled and considering every moment their own. They still look for direction, they still want to talk about what we’re doing and saying, they can carry their own stuff (mostly) and run free, but not too far. I love where we are right now, want to hang onto it, freeze this spot in time and never lose it. But – despite the challenges and rigors of those early editions – I felt that way then too, and it keeps getter better. Just different.

We’re sitting at the gate in the airport as I write, Gwen just took the girls down to get some sandwiches and gum for the flight and the prospect of that innocent little field trip made them bounce around like they were at an amusement park. My parents are already down there, Grandmother too. We’ve been in touch. Dinners are planned, excursions, maybe a round of golf. A week under the sun and on sand in the gentle Aruban breeze is stretching out before us.

This is the last year.


Blogger alisha said...

very nice post...makes me remember what Avery was like around that age!

5:09 PM  
Blogger Corina - Down to Earth Mama said...

I am waiting for that sweet spot between the ages. Right now, I am in 2 year old hell. Got to run, my son is running into traffic.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former teacher (I taught for 7years before deciding to stay home with my son) I say take them every year! School is obviously important, but the memories of a week spent with family in a gorgeous place will last a lifetime. When parents would ask me whether or not to pull their kids out for a trip, I would always tell them YES!!

Looks like a great trip. I'm jealous.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaawww, look at them! Can't wait for when my daughter will stay put like that. Even pictures of her are always shaky coz she can't keep still. She's one and

11:00 AM  
Blogger Moogliyon said...

Weblog award, webshmlog award. Your blog renews my faith in humanity. It's the only one I bother to subscribe to. You have more fans than you know.

3:35 AM  

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