Sunday, August 24, 2014

Family Vacation

My egg cracks and bubbles in the pan. I’m the last one to eat breakfast. I pour too much water in the mini Keurig and it overflows, again. I look at the puddles on the counter and turn it on. The coffee it promises seems like a greater priority than the spill. I hear the baby crying, fighting her morning nap. I struggle with whether to go to her or flip the egg. I think I can do both. I run upstairs to quickly give her a binky and soothe her, back down to flip the egg. Acoustic sunrise is on the radio and even though I can barely here it over the bubbling egg and the whirring coffee machine and the crying baby, I keep it on because I know there is a small part of me somewhere in there that likes it, and should honor that. Ruby is watching the Mickey Mouse Club. She is answering all of Mickey’s questions. Dylan is reading the second installment of Harry Potter.

These are the sounds of our Sunday morning. For some reason I want to write that down, record them. I want to remember what it felt like to be in this moment which feels mundane and groggy and loud and wonderful and hard all at the same time.

We are freshly back from family vacation. Family vacations have this wonderful way of taking every amazing, difficult, complicated, ridiculous, breathtaking component of each relationship and putting it under a microscope and blowing it up and out of proportion. That seems about right when you put 5 people in a room together and tell them to spend every waking moment together. Even in the best of families, love is just not built to sustain that kind of togetherness. It is so loud, so seemingly unnatural, all that why are you breathing, staring, building, chewing at me how amazing I love you so much I can’t stand you get away from me want to play with me I love you don’t sit near me don’t breathe near me togetherness.

On our first day, Phil could sense that I needed a bit of time away. I snuck down to the ocean and swam in crystal blue waters by myself. To say that this felt indulgent would be an understatement. I floated on my back and felt truly weightless. I forgot how great it is to just float once in a while, your belly stretched to the sky, drifting without purpose, your ears slightly submerged to drown out sound. After, I went to meet up with the family by the pool. As was the norm at this resort, a waitress came by to offer me some rum punch and I didn’t want to be rude so of course I accepted. Except I don’t usually drink rum at 2pm in the afternoon. So I drank and promptly fell asleep/passed out with my face tilted up toward the August Caribbean sun at the hottest part of the day. From this moment on, I was known as lobster face.

Moms, there is a reason for that 5pm rule. Wait for that first drink. Safety first.

There was a ridiculous amount of swimming and even a water park with water slides. Phil likes the ones with the sudden drop. I fancy myself more of a lazy river candidate. We both see them as metaphors for life and I suppose we’re both right. There were beaches and sand and my god the sand – how does sand get in so many places? Will I find sand on us for the rest of our lives? I suspect this is true.

We capped off the end of a long, hot, wonderful, amazing, complicated week with a trip to Hibachi to celebrate my mother in law’s birthday. My senses were on red alert. Hibachi always feels hard for me. It is so loud – always so much. It is everything I love about the quiet and gentleness of the lazy river except the opposite. Dylan was mock cooking shrimp at the grill. The chef kept clanging his spatula on the metal for theatrics. Everyone cheered. The rowdy table next to us inexplicably broke out into Journey as they dank sake. The fans whirred to clear out the smoke from the cooking. The baby burped and threw up the pureed broccoli she just ate. There was singing and happy birthday and cake and Ruby clamored loudly for a large piece. Phil photographed the scene. Flashing, clapping, clanging, crying. It was the perfect symbolic closing dinner on family vacation. It was just so much. So loud, so horribly loud, and wonderfully, awfully much.

The teapot is bubbling over with water for the baby’s bottles. I hear her on the monitor fighting her afternoon nap. The older two play a mock battle scene with superheroes. Everything on me tingles. A fight breaks out over a toy. Acoustic sunrise ends and a loud modern pop song comes on the radio. Sunday morning feels loud. I hate it. I love it. Perhaps that’s not a family vacation thing after all, but just a family thing. Love feels loud, at least in this house.

I turn the kettle off and run toward all of it with a full heart and exhausted arms.
                              P.S. this vacation picture? it says it all right? awesome.


  1. That last line is the balm of life. Thank you.

  2. I love every word of this!

  3. I love quiet, too. And with four kids, yes-- such a good point-- love is loud. I'm learning to get used to it. I know one day the quiet will be too much, too.

  4. You totally 100% nailed it. LOVE this post!-Ashley