Wednesday, July 11, 2012

How Lucky Can One Guy Be?

A doozy of a time, that's what I'm talking about.

Friday, we did a one day there-and-back to beautiful Rhode Island to see some lovely out-of-town friends who had rented a place on the beach. It was so great of them to open their vacation to us, and we had a great time relaxing and catching up. It was a gorgeous day, perfect for just hanging out. HR loved walking on the beach and playing with his farm animals on every surface he could find. Late in the afternoon a couple came by with a baby and a six-year-old and my kid was totally smitten, going out of his way to get her attention. He's always loved big kids, but especially big girl kids. This theme repeated over the weekend with several different chiquitas.

Saturday Mike worked a double in order to make up for taking off the following day, so it was Mama and HR, all day and all of the night. We had a very nice day together, capped off with a dinner at Mike's restaurant. I am really appreciating this stage in my boy's development - he is so much fun in general, but his attention span also allowed me to sit at a table with him for a sustained period of time (and only a few youtube clips on the smartphone for strategic bribing purposes) and have a fairly relaxed meal, something I didn't think was possible just months ago. It didn't hurt that HR is something of an unofficial mascot of the restaurant, and was showered with attention.

Sunday was the highlight of the weekend for me, because I got to see so many people that I love and in a beautiful space. My aunt and uncle recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and decided to use the occasion to have a reunion of sorts. They've lived outside of Maine for nearly all of those 50 years, but they rented a huge camp (that's any kind of summer abode, to those not from the 207) near to where they both grew up (they were high school sweethearts), set right on a pond and with a huge yard and invited a ton of friends and extended family for swimming and a pig roast and lawn games and the like. Their adult sons did a great job organizing the party, even getting the original wedding attendants to come, which included locating and importing the best man who had been MIA for decades. The food was ridiculous, as is always the case with these things. And everyone had a blast.

HR could not get enough of the water, and spent most of the time he wasn't throwing himself at my cousins' girls luring any sucker he could to take him swimming. He "swam" (kicked and splashed while someone held him on his belly) like a crazy person and ran naked in the grass and lavished in the copious attention. We had been talking about the party for weeks, who would be there, what we'd do, etc., and it's safe to say the actual event exceeded his expectations. It certainly exceeded mine. 

Since my parents live about 10 miles from the party site, we were able to install our partied-out guy at their home with my mother and grandmother, and return to the party site for a bonfire, stargazing and conversation with the die-hards (most of whom were staying on at the "camp," a rambling farmhouse which sleeps 25). It was tough to call it a night around 1 a.m., but it made me all the more excited for our upcoming vacation when we'll get to see most of those dudes again. Monday we booked it back to MA, and I was sad because I could have easily stayed another day or ten, but not too sad because of the aforementioned vacation on the horizon.

But I feel like everything I just wrote is background, a set-up for what was truly special about our weekend. For starters, any time my family's going to get together, you just know it's going to be awesome. Fun is our family legacy, we fly our colors loud and proud. And I'm in awe of all the work that was put into pulling this one off, all done with smiles and no complaint from any person involved. I do feel bad that I didn't do more (or, like, anything) besides show up and chase my kid and eat my face off, but everyone gets a turn, and I'll happily take it next go-round.

The inarguable highlights:

-spending time with people who rock, most of them having known me all my life and love me because they have to, but I'm also pretty sure because they just do. I feel the same. And they feel the same about Mike and HR, and so on. That's just the package deal. Once you're in, good luck getting out. It's easy to take my one-in-a-million birth family for granted, but I hope they know I don't. We are not perfect, we have our little issues here and there, but none so big that they overshadow what's most important. All my relatives, the whole lot of them, and on both sides (and yes, this was my paternal aunt's party but a lot of my maternal fam was there because that's how we roll), that is my life's greatest blessing.

-my grandmother, the matriarch, 90 and thriving, getting her picture taken with my uncle's soon-to-be one-year-old, HR and my cousin's newborn. For those keeping score, that's a grandson, great-grandson, and great-GREAT-grandson born within a two-year span. The picture is one I will always cherish.

-being on the little beach at the "after party" when they lit and released those floating paper lanterns. It was nothing short of magical.

-seeing my son interact with my loved ones, most of whom he hasn't seen since the fall or even before that, and him just... knowing them. We have a huge photo book of his entire family that we look at all the time, he's been obsessed with it since infancy, and the names and faces are drilled into his little brain. Even with that, it took by breath away to hear him say something like, "Bye-bye Uncle Bob," unprompted. It's rewarding to me as someone who wants to teach him things, but it's more than that. Something deeper and more touching to my soul. He always talks about MAINE like he knows what it means, he gets excited about it, and I wonder if he knows that Maine is a place, or just an idea of happiness?

And while I'm making this yet another thing that's all about my spawn, I was thrilled that he was such a trooper when it came to the traveling. I'll admit I was not looking forward that part, it's not something that comes easily to him and he gets carsick to boot, poor kid, but between the success of dramamine (which we gave a shot with our pediatrician's blessing, and the only time he got sick was the one night-time leg of the journey when I didn't think he'd need it - my bad) and his growing-upness, it was all, all good. And to tell the truth even if every ride sucked it would have been worth it. It always is.

So yay, love. Yay, life. Yay, family. If you don't like yours, come on over, there's always room in mine.

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