Actually, we do know how to rock it. We spent a couple of days checking out the Catskills. It's close enough to get away quickly and on a whim. The drive is pleasant, especially when the kids sleep most of the way. She wakes up cranky in the afternoon. "Don't take my picture!"
These getaways are so different than the romantic stolen weekends Tim and I knew pre-kids. Anyone with kids knows exactly what I mean. Meals are in whatever restaurant you think might not mind a tantrum or food all over the floor (we ordered in one night). Sleep is scarce as the toddler is all out-of-whack. The first night Tim slept with Ada while I slept with Ingram. At one point, I was loudly whispering to Tim, "psst. Hey. ppppssssttt. She's about to fall off the bed." He flung his big daddy-arm over her little sleeping body and just like that she was safe. The next night I was in bed with both kids.
Most of the activities are geared toward keeping the toddler happy. As such, the very first thing we did was ride on a train.
It was a advertised as a beautiful tour of the fall foliage. A storm a couple of years ago sat over the Catskills for a few days, drowning everything and, in this case, making miles of train track unusable. So we went about 0.2 miles in one direction and then backed up and went another 2 miles in the other direction. As if Ada cared about the brevity of the ride. She was on a TRAIN!
She was happy to just be on the ride.
Holding her new gingerbread kaleidoscope. Of course, we visited the kaleidoscope shop down the road from the train station.
It was a beautiful old train car decorated for the season. The family had fun with it:
Aaaannnd here's what it looks like when they pose:
My little buddy. My smiles. Little peeper. Ugh! He's now 3 months old and the deep inky blue eyes of a newborn are replaced by eyes as blue as a clear lake. Oh, and by the way, he is insanely cute.
The trip took us to little rural towns. You can feel the smallness of these towns. When I was young, growing up in a small town like this was a disaster. I mean, why didn't we live somewhere cooler? Now, as a parent, I can't think of a better place to raise children and I see that others feel the same way.
In one small town, the name of which I don't remember, I stood in a bar and grill with Ingram wrapped onto my chest and a fork in my hand. I was feeling a little conspicuous. Small towns are friendly and it's easy to strike up a conversation so I turned to the lady sitting near us and rhetorically asked,
"Do you miss the days of standing up to eat?"
"No," she said matter-of-factly. "But I do miss my son at that age." Something about the delivery mixed with the body language convinced me that this woman would stand to eat all of her meals for the rest of her life in exchange for just 60 seconds of cradling her infant son one more time. I know - like know it deep in my soul and in my bones - that in 20 years I will feel like that about my kids. What sunk in deep with me, what really ate at me the rest of the day and is still eating me, is that I can hold them right now and smell them and feel their bodies and listen to their breath and really take it all in, appreciating them as they are in this moment but in 20 years I will still long to come back to right now for just one little sip of their sweetness. I will always crave them.
How could I not pine for one more minute of this?
That bar and grill had a big wooden pig in the window (above) and a TV to which my daughter and husband were glued (below).
We wandered a lot that weekend. Ada thought it was pretty great...and she as right. It was pretty great.
Just lovely New England town details to be discovered...
and some tiny hikes...
One day she'll be a grown woman and I'll look back at this picture to remember how very small she was compared to her dad...and I will crave to hold her little hand in mine once again.
One day, apros pos of nothing at all, Ada asked me if she could learn to ice skate. I don't know where she even knew about ice skating from. I kept meaning to take her one afternoon close to home but it's complicated since I don't really skate myself and, I mean, what do I do with Ingram? We happened upon a rink one afternoon. Open skate was empty -she had the whole rink to herself. So we rented her some skates, Tim took Ingram and after 10 minutes of coaxing her onto the ice she overcame her initial fear and discovered a new love. I was so proud of her for being afraid but trying it anyway.
We'll follow up on this at home.
We were in the Catskills for 2 nights. It was so wildly estranged from any pre-kids vacations. It was, in many ways, a frustrating and tiring 'vacation' but I realized something so important: in 20 years I will long for my babies and pine for a time gone by, never to be recovered. It will ache but I will be OK if...IF I know that I didn't squander this time. However, if I feel that I wasted an opportunity to actively love them then that's regret. I can ache to cuddle them one more time but regret is a different, unwelcome beast. I'm working on being present not only for the gifts it brings now but the gifts it will likely bring in the future.