Photo: Probably one of the better not so awesome pictures that I got of Pinball the Whale, who I saw on Saturday.
Happy Monday, Internet! And how was your weekend?
No she didn’t!
Oh? Me? Well….
I SAW A FREAKING WHALE THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!
Did you see a freaking WHALE this weekend? You didn’t? Let me tell you about it.
Seeing a whale is freaking AWESOME! It’s kind of THE COOLEST THING I’VE DONE IN A WHILE!!!!
Ok, ok….I’m sorry. All of that caps lock was a bit much. Let me regain control of my composure. Let’s back track a little bit.
A large portion of my family in Maryland came up to Boston this weekend. My mother and I have been planning for weeks: Menu, shopping, sleeping, what to do, where to eat. So on Friday, instead of blogging, I got up at 5, condensing all of my usual Friday morning activities into a 5 hour period because I needed to be out the door by 10 to get to Mom’s. There, my Uncle, his partner, my Aunt and her husband and my Mom and her husband were waiting for us. They were so excited to see us, and we had a wonderful day eating, talking, laughing, running, playing, drinking and otherwise being family. This was the first time I’ve seen any of my Maryland family since Christmas.
I’ve learned over these years how to put down my homesickness. I’m not really coping, rather, I’m burying. There is never a single day when I don’t wake up and wish I could be back in Maryland. Sometimes, when driving on 93 south, I think to myself, “it wouldn’t be so hard to just keep going. I could be in Maryland before the end of the day.” Part of this is because I only get to return home once every 6 months, and until last weekend, none of the Maryland family had taken the time to do the traveling and come see us.
Unlike when my in-laws come up (all the freaking time), my family brought with them a much needed confidence boost. All they could do was talk about how impressed they were with the boys, their progress, and how I’m raising them. I didn’t want to accept their compliments, but I have to tell you, it felt good. It felt good to hear someone say, “Wow, [Kay], I just can’t believe how well behaved these boys are.” or “My God, [Kay], you’re doing such a great job.” It’s not to say that people don’t say that to me at other times. I’m just saying that it felt particularly good to hear it in this context just because it felt so wonderfully sincere.
On Friday, we just hung out. I had three beers, which doesn’t sound like a lot–but I rarely drink anymore, so I was pretty toasty. Thank God The Husband came to join us for dinner and he did the driving home. My Maryland family (who drink like it’s nothing), was like “we’ve gotta up your tolerance! We’ll work on that at the beach!” Lordy. Since when does Motherhood make you a lightweight?
Anyway, on Saturday I left the boys with The Husband to go on this Whale Watch. I got up, made them pancakes, set them up for a fun day, and made sure that The Husband was versed in making Manwich. I then thanked him at least 30 times before I left the apartment. I got a day off from motherhood on Saturday. I hadn’t been away from the boys for a full day ever. I left at noon and didn’t return until 11pm. A full day without my children.
We had a beer and shrimp cocktails while we were waiting for the boat. This is the height of luxury for me. Everyone else got a Corona. I asked for a Sam Adams Summer Ale because I’m such a freaking local now.
Mom was able to snag free tickets for a Boston Harbor Cruises Whale Watch, a 3 hour affair. The Husband had been on a whale watch before and said that I would have a great time. I knew I would regardless: I was away from the kids, I was with my family, I love boats, and there is absolutely nothing better than seeing the Boston skyline from the Harbor. Many people, when they think of the Boston skyline, get the image of the Charles River and the buildings beyond (basically, if you were looking at Boston from Cambridge, which is across the river). It is an impressive skyline, to be sure, but the skyline from the Harbor is just as pretty. You can see both the Zakim and Tobin bridges, you get the Bunker Hill monument, you can see the Clock Tower and the buildings on State Street…it’s just the best. When I first moved here to Boston, I moved in on a Sunday, went to my first day of work on the Monday and then on Tuesday, I was on a boat in Boston Harbor on my way to a team building activity on one of the islands near by. I couldn’t help but be impressed. I’ve been able to get that view twice since then, and each time, my jaw drops.
It takes about an hour to get out to the place where whales hang out, and they tell you up front that there may not be any. That’s cool, though, because they actually will refund your ticket if you don’t see a whale when you visit. Isn’t that nifty? (At $50 a pop for tickets, it seems only fair)
I spent that time talking about this and that with my family, taking pictures of the view, regaling various family members with various trivia that I’ve picked up over my 8 years living here. I really can’t believe how much I know about this freaking place now. Finally, seemingly out in the middle of nowhere, we found ourselves in the presence of a whale.
I don’t know what kind of whale it was. The MIT doctoral candidate told us the whale’s name and size and what not. I wasn’t paying attention. I was looking at a freaking whale. This beautiful, ancient, peaceful and happy thing, this creature that is endangered because I’m too lazy to recycle sometimes. This thing that we’re so connected to and yet is so very far away from us. I watched her (yes, it was a her, I remember that part) spout water, eat phytoplankton, poop (yes, the MIT student was very excited about whale poop….whatever), come up for air and dive down again (complete with tail in the air). She didn’t jump out of the water like you see in the commercials, but that didn’t matter at all. I was moved by what I saw. She was beautiful.
I love nature, regardless. I’ve always appreciated the changing of the seasons, the smells of flowers, the power of mountain ranges. I’m always saying “wow” while watching the Discovery channel. I’ve always loved biology and the study of the natural world. Seeing that whale on Saturday reminded me of the feeling I got when I first saw Niagara Falls.
On our first wedding anniversary, my husband took me to Niagara Falls. I’d never been before, which he thought was crazy, and he insisted that we go. We got a great hotel room, we could see the entirety of the falls from our suite, and there were fireworks over the falls the night that we arrived. The next morning, we got on the Maid of the Mist, and got as close to the falls as you possibly can. The sound, the smell, the wind, the power of being under those falls confirmed for me that I believe in God. Nature, until that point, had been beautiful science. Niagara Falls made nature something more. They were a confirmation that there absolutely has to be something bigger than us. I didn’t realize how superficial my belief in God was until the moment I was under those falls. I no longer believed because of fear or because it was “what everyone else” believed. I believed because I saw something awesome in the falling water.
and that’s how I felt being in the presence of that whale. The whale confirmed for me, again, that for all of the evolution and stuff that I totally know is scientific fact, I also know that there are some things that are here on earth because something bigger than I am wants them here. There are few things more beautiful and special. All I could think about during the hour ride back from the feeding grounds was just how powerful, full, and amazing the Atlantic Ocean is. Think about everything that the Atlantic Ocean has seen through history. Freaking wild..
We got off the boat and had a ridiculously great meal (Lobster. Freaking. Spring rolls. yum. In the building that held John Hancock’s offices!). And more booze. Lordy, my liver…
I can’t tell you how much my soul is lifted today. I didn’t know just how badly I needed last weekend. I feel like I can get through all of the challenges of the summer now.
I hope that you, too, had a weekend of joyful and uplifting moments. Let’s have a fantastic week!
Did I mention that my in-laws informed us that they’re coming up July 4th weekend? That they told us on Sunday?
Let the summer gauntlet begin…