Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A Vacation Worth Remembering.

Louie is back in school. Since he's on a balanced school year, he gets six weeks in the summer and three for fall, winter and spring. The greatest pleasure I found during summer break was the opportunity to just be a mom. During the break, we still had some therapy and worked with him on maintaining current skills and helping him progress as much as possible.

It was actually the week long trip to the cabin in the Smokey Mountains that was the real reprieve. This is where truly, I was simply a mom. Louie was simply a kid. A son. A brother. We ate and swam and took long boat rides across the most sparkling deep green lake water I have seen.

The kids fought incessantly and wouldn't take a nap. Louie had lots off pee-pee accidents. Plenty of dirt, sweat and sticky sunscreen clung to the boys like a second skin. Bed times were late and at times, grouchiness overtook. But no picture schedules; in fact, no real schedules at all.

We sat in rocking chairs on our deck overlooking the mountains and valleys of the Smokeys and watched 10 different fireworks displays firing their shouts of independence and sparkling, fizzling, fading lights.

We didn't have hot water for three days. The cabin couch was slick with what only your imagination could produce as possibilities. Our hot tub didn't work half of the time. The pool was scummy and there were dying dandelions in plastic pots around the pool. The fire pit, described as a great place for the kids to roast marshmallows, was a pile of ashes surrounded by falling rock and broken down benches. Busch beer cans and cigarette butts littered the ground beneath our deck.

I wouldn't recommend this "resort" to anyone. Ever. Ever. I would, however, recommend a trip with your family to a place with a porch swing and rocking chairs. A place where the intensity of the solitude and silence (except for the occasional redneck hollering woo hoo in the next door cabin) feels divinely deafening. A place where you can see the big dipper and when it rains, pillows of fog lie sleepily in the wet and warm valleys.

What a fine time we had. We didn't have to battle with Ace as much to wear his clothes, as it didn't really matter. The boys had their first smores...cooked in the oven, not the fire pit, but nevertheless, they were still smores. Ace sang a rockin' rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, complete with guitar strumming. Very cute. Louie learned the word 'boat' and proceeded to say it over and over and over...and I remembered my blessings. My rich and immensely blessed life.

So go. If you can. Go somewhere and remember what it feels like to be without TV and Internet. And what it's like to have long conversations with your husband. After nine years of marriage I am still surprised about how much I don't know about Chris. And that's what vacation is about, isn't it?

It's not really the crystal clear pool or the hot water (which, of course, would have been nice). It's about time. Elusive, fleeting, precious time. All we have is time. But so often it feels it's what we have the least.

Go. Somewhere. Put your arms around time. Hold the day, the hour, the minutes and seconds, close. Don't look at your watch. Then set out on a search for tadpoles. Skip rocks. Go barefoot. Dance. Sing with your kids. And seek out the constellations in a starry sky. Even if you don't know about astronomy, try anyway. The stars have a way of showing you their patterns.