Monday, June 23, 2014

Twelve Years

Mom arrived at 8:30 on a recent, bright Monday morning to collect two happy campers. They were looking forward to their vacation at her house as much as we were looking forward to ours at the beach. The emotional hugs I'd received from Annabeth the night before had been spent. Everything was breezy and smiley. "We'll miss you, but it will be a happy miss!" I told the kids in the front yard. That was how my parents used to say it. Their marriage is 35 years old now - 9 months and two weeks older than yours truly. 

Curtis and I loaded our small bags (I swear this was the first time I've ever packed light) into the Park and Fly bus and exhaled. Businessmen crowded around us and I felt a teensy bit guilty that we were traveling for fun. We got off the bus at E Terminal, where the international travelers go. 

After seven years Mexico had finally called us back. Back then it was for our fifth anniversary. I had taken on an editing project with one of my mom's publishers in order to pay for the whole thing myself. I wanted it to be awesome and I didn't want to feel guilty about how much things cost. It was a great strategy. I haven't made an income in a few years so nowadays I have to rely on my man's generosity. 

There was a young couple checking in ahead of us. I knew the second I saw them that they were leaving for their honeymoon. She was impeccably groomed - gorgeous hair, nails done, even tan, no body fat except in the desired places, and a flattering sundress. She was a vision. This is the kind of perfection that takes months to accomplish. If I had any sliver of doubt it was put to rest when she held up her left hand and wiggled her ring finger just so.  

I wished I could be that fresh and beautiful for my husband again. I wanted us, once more, to be intoxicated by the newness and by the beginning of everything. But time only works to stretch us farther from that moment when everything was carefully planned and groomed and fashioned and placed and photographed and celebrated wildly.  

We spent five days at a gorgeous resort. We saw honeymooners, anniversary celebrators, and wedding parties everywhere we turned. I had a few more of those wishful moments when I saw young brides with perfect bodies, but then my perspective changed. Sometimes that happens when you take a few steps - or a plane ride - back from your life. 

The joy of our twelve years together poured out of our hearts, out of our memories. We have built a life, by the grace of God, that is good. We have an endless supply of adventures (and misadventures) to reminisce about. We have a million inside jokes. Most importantly, we have two incredible kids who make us laugh and who make us prouder than we ever knew we could feel. 

This is the purpose of that. 

I had to trade in my white gown and my honeymoon figure, but what we enjoy now is more fun and even more meaningful than we could have imagined. 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Where I Feel Like a Good Mom

My lofty goal for this week has been to get a base tan. And see my son finish second grade. But the base tan is pretty important because the hubs and I are going on a beach getaway soon. If I go with white skin I will fry like a chicken. 

So in my effort to slightly darken the epidermis, the kids and I have spent a ton of time in the pool. This is our happy place. The kids love it when I have second or third hair day and I'm willing to get my hair wet. "Yay! Mom's getting her hair wet!" they yell. I feel like a good mom when I play with them there. I feel like a lame-o mom when I stink at playing Barbies or can't have an intelligent conversation about Minecraft. 

Swimming makes me feel like a kid again, so it's easy to pretend we're exploring Mars or to body slam Jackson into the water, which is his favorite thing. Our new game for the summer is this: the kids stand at the edge of the pool and I set a beach ball to them. The goal is to jump in the air, hit it, and land in the water. It feels like volleyball so it's a win for everyone. 

Don't tell Jackson I said this, but sometimes I like to cradle him in my arms because in the water he's not too heavy to pick up. Gosh, I don't even know the last time I would've been able to pick him up like that in normal gravity conditions. (So sciencey!) He squints his eyes, his whole body shakes, and he laughs really hard as I say, "Oh, my little baby Jackson. You are so sweet. Too bad your diapers are so stinky." 

(A note to any first-time boy moms: you will need to summon the potty humor you once had when you were four years old. Every now and then it will win your son's heart and you will be his dream mom.)

On my first day in the pool, which was a whole month after the kids started swimming in the freezing cold water, I gathered him in my arms like a baby and said something to make him laugh. His elbows, knees and feet were bonier and more forceful than I remembered. I'm sure I came out with a few little bruises. His legs hung over my right elbow and dipped deeper into the water than before. Annabeth was bigger too. When she rode on my back while I swam across the pool, it wasn't quite as easy as last year. They are growing!

All winter long I regretted our decision to put that pool in. We rendered our back yard useless for half the year when we did it. I missed the days when I could make the kids go outside and jump on the trampoline or swing by themselves. Our play structure was exiled to my mom's house and our trampoline was dismantled for lack of room. But now it's hot and I'm remember why we did this. We all love it and we love one another well with splashes and dunks and dives. 

What is your favorite way to bond with your kids? When do you feel like a good mom? 


The kids' first swim was back in April. This is Annabeth's face after she jumped in and came out of the water. Complete and utter shock. She forgot how to swim for a second because it was so cold! 

They begged and begged to get in and only lasted 12 minutes. 

Jackson requested this picture yesterday.

My first swim a couple of weeks ago.

*Ironically, I have ignored my kids for the last hour while writing this post, so I feel like lame-o mom again. ;)