Friday, June 15, 2012

Marco Island

I had an amazing time in Marco Island with my kids. Can a heart actually smile? If so, mine certainly is. I can feel it. There is a happy buzzing in my chest and a feeling of contentment that is hard to hide. It is even giving my boobs a little lift.
I rubbed sunscreen on two tiny faces at least 45 times this week. I wrestled with wet swim suits during Max’s frequent trips to the bathroom. I endured dirty looks from other women in the ladies’ room when I brought both of my boys with me during a potty break.
What is a single mom to do?
I say, “Suck it up, ladies. They’re too young to go it alone. Get over yourselves.”  That mostly came out as, “Excuse me, sorry, pardon me,” but I sounded really tough in my head.
I rivaled Clark Griswald during my umbrella-carrying, beach-chair-toting, boogie-board-dragging, cooler-lugging trips to the beach. And I did so with the style and grace of a baby calf on ice skates.
I took my boys on their first catamaran sailboat cruise. We had a three-hour tour and stopped at a deserted mangrove island to collect shells and sand dollars. I judiciously checked each conch shell for critters, but one escaped my scrutiny and stunk up our balcony something fierce.
We took a break from the salt and sand at the local water park. One of the pools had a line of anchored buoys in the shape of lily pads that the kids jumped on to cross the pool. “Try to jump in the middle!” I yelled as they muscled their slippery bodies up the side of the tipping lily pad. I played armchair quarterback as my boys played Wipeout- Kid Style.
“Ooh! That’s gonna leave a mark.”
Snapshot 1 (6-15-2012 10-01 PM)
I also took the boys to the Imaginarium Science Center, a place that from the website, looked amazing! They had a hands-on sea experience where guests could touch and feed sting rays. They also had a dinosaur exhibit, a 3-D movie and a hurricane simulator.
After an hour drive, we pulled into the parking lot, right across from the pre-gentrified slum. There was a dilapidated sign for the restoration project in progress and several bail bondsman nearby. We pushed on to the Imaginarium (a building lacking air conditioning or updates to the displays since the mid-1980’s) and I told myself this was an exercise in social science, too.
I white-knuckled my kids’ hands the entire hour we were there and whisper-yelled at them whenever they tried wander off. We petted sting rays, had our hair blown around in a small, dark room, er, Hurricane Adventure and enriched our minds before we got the hell out of there. All in the name of science.
Each morning I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the balcony, and I tucked my sweet boys into bed each night. I graciously accepted each white shell and molted bird feather handed to me by my sons. I made some enlightening discoveries - like tan fat looks so much better than pale fat and Shirley Temples taste as good in adulthood as they did when I was a kid.
I learned that despite my best effort to NOT become one of those moms who make their entire world revolve around their kids, only to suffer tremendous heartbreak when they grow up and move away (and consequently become overbearing and dreaded in-laws) I’ve lost that battle. I am completely and hopelessly immersed in all that is Sam and Max, and I love it.
We play hard.
We sleep hard.
But we love harder.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012



Dear Maxwell,

Happy birthday, Schmoops! You have successfully completed four years of life and today we celebrate all the wonderful things that make you you.

Three was a big year for you. You started preschool, you gave your Nay-Nays (pacifiers) to the Nay-Nay Fairy. You finished potty training and learned how to write your name. You did this despite the biggest change of all – your Daddy and I got divorced.

When we moved, you had to get used to a new bedroom and a new bed, no small task for a three-year old. You had some scary nights in your new, big space but you did it! While Mom and Dad figured out our new life schedule, you rolled with the punches with more style and grace than most adults I know. You asked me questions with an honesty and thoughtfulness few people possess. From the moment I looked into your eyes, Maxwell, you won my heart. You continue to wow me with your playful spirit and questioning mind.

I love watching you play! It is so charming the way you run after the ball, jump in the air and land with two feet before bending to pick it up. I love how you sing the songs you have in your head and fill our house with your sweet music. I love how you tell me you have a surprise for me and then tackle me with your boy-hugs and sweet kisses. I love that you look up to your older brother and work so hard to hang with the big boys.

Best of all, I love your independent spirit. You don’t follow the crowd and aren’t afraid to venture off alone to discover something new. I learn so much from you, Max. You are my sweet baby, my smart son and the essence of my happiness.

Happy birthday, Max. Welcome to four!