Photo: One of many moments on our little one-night vacation. Exhausting, yet refreshing. Little boys have never been so free and full and happy. The collective family jar is full today, Dear Reader, thanks to fun memories.
I can’t believe it has been 5 years since Ursa Major decided to enter the world. While the other birthdays were milestones, this one feels especially weighty. I haven’t worked in 5 years. I haven’t had the luxury of being an irresponsible adult for 5 years. I haven’t gone through a day untested, unpoked, unpushed, unmoved in 5 years. In 5 years, we went from a stateless, landless, childless couple sorta wistfully thinking about “the future and junk” to home-owning, tax paying, tuition paying, church-going, mentoring, hard working, barely sleeping, community-oriented parents. Major’s birthday doesn’t merely represent time, it represents evolution. It feels like we went 0 to 60 in just a few seconds… but it’s not true. It’s been 5 years. 5 short years. 5 long years. 5 incredible years.
And they say children are powerless little things.
I think about the struggles and the accomplishments, I think about all of the challenges ahead of us, but I’m also trying to make room for the delight and the joy, the memories that waft in and out that weave the entire narrative together.
This week is a great example of that. We spent one night at Great Wolf Lodge this week and, I’ve gotta tell you, Dear Reader, I am still smiling. We had a wonderful time. I was absolutely prepared to have it be a suboptimal experience–the online reviews are mixed, at best. Furthermore, with the cost of everything around here being expensive just to be expensive, I was prepared to feel like I spent a lot without getting a lot. I couldn’t be more surprised and delighted. It wasn’t a cheap trip, but it was worth every penny.
As usual, I’m not being paid to tell you about all this, and I won’t bore you with all the little details, but I’ve gotta highlight a few things that made it awesome for us. First, we got the birthday package for Major, so he was greeted with cute little birthday wolf ears, a poster on our hotel door and a birthday cake in our room. It was good, too!
The water park was beautiful and warm and, because we were there on a Wednesday night, nothing was crowded and everyone was friendly. The lifeguards were incredible. Each one of them “walking a beat” at their designated a pool. Seriously–there was no such thing as a lifeguard standing or sitting. They were walking back and forth, surveying the water, and even when there was a changing of the guards, it was in motion, with no one stopping, no one talking… it was incredible. My husband and I were mesmerized. One of those guards was on duty at our pool for well over an hour. Didn’t tire. Didn’t waver. Just kept guarding. We were so damn impressed. Even Minor, who took breaks a few times to be in my lap and drive me crazy, couldn’t stop watching and commenting, “Wow. He’s still marching!”
We got magic wands for the scavenger hunt thing. We played arcade games. We ate pretty good pizza and a great breakfast. We splashed and they went down the same two slides a million billion times. Little boys were too excited to be in bunk beds to actually sleep in them. There was no time for TV, no time to really be in our room really, because there was so much to do and the boys were so into it. I’ve never seen them so happy or full of joy. They just wanted to do everything and touch everything and be everywhere and we, parents on mini-vacation, allowed ourselves to say “yes” more often than not. And that feels so rare, you know?
A few months from now, I won’t remember the cost of the trip, the silly feeling of spending $7 on a hot dog, the struggle to get the birthday boy to wear his wolf ears for just one picture oh my God! But I will remember the joy on his face after going down the “fast” slide for the first time and realizing it was fun and safe (and him wearing that same satisfied grin slide after slide after slide for the rest of the trip. I’ll remember the smacking of lips and big grins after two slices of birthday cake after so much fun in the water park. I’ll remember them looking up at the lifeguard holding the door open for them the way that a kid might look at a superhero. I’ll remember the many times they said “wow” in delight and awe, and how we two tired parents did, too. Even when some of those memories fade, I know the feeling of it all will never leave.
Just like so many memories of these five transformative years. These are the moments that remind you that it’s all worth it.
It is a cold Friday, Dear Reader, the end of an intense week. Are you under the blizzard warning tonight? Stay safe out there, stay warm, and keep an eye out for your neighbors. We are expecting nothing here in MetroWest, so I’m looking forward to hosting our little birthday gathering with pizza and cupcakes tomorrow morning. Tonight, however, the birthday boy will enjoy his favorite dinner, spaghetti and meatballs, followed by more cake! That’s after mommy served him cupcakes at school! Spoiled child!
Wherever you are, Dear Reader, I hope you get a moment this weekend to think about the passage of time and what you’ve done with it. What do you know today that you didn’t know 5 years ago? What do you have to show for the time that has gone by? I wish you deep memories of joyful moments. Little details long forgotten that make you smile or even laugh. I wish you a small indulgence in a favorite old food. Tomato soup and a grilled cheese. Peanut Butter and jelly with the crust cut off. Broccoli with the cheese sprinkled on top. Something big or small to take you to another place and time. I wish you a good story told by someone you love, maybe even a text or a call from someone thinking of you. I wish you a kiss on the cheek and a lingering hug, a reminder of how much you are loved and admired. Don’t I tell you every week, Dear Reader? Yes, you’re worthy of it.
Until Monday, stay safe, stay warm and take care.