Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Every Parent Needs a Break

Our break came in the form of a trip to Aruba that Megan won through her work. If you're sitting at home with your little ones you can either throw stuff at the screen or you can take a little trip in your mind with me. If you chose the latter, go make yourself a pina colada. I'll wait...

The trip almost didn't happen. With my family in California and Megan's parents in Florida, we don't really have a local option to watch the kids for extended periods of time. We've done a couple of trips in the past where we scheduled several sitters in blocks of time, but that was too stressful for everyone involved. Just as we were about to give up on the idea, the heavens opened up (singing choirs of angels and all) and delivered to us my sister Tracy. She flew all the way from California to watch the girls for five days so Megan and I could have this time together. Not only is she a nurse, but she's a former child care provider who raised three kids of her own. Where other people would have been stressing over what the kids' schedules were or where everything they needed was, Tracy just showed up and kicked us out the door, promising everything would be fine. And of course it was.

We explained to Clara that we were leaving in the morning. She asked if Auntie Tracy was staying with her. When we said yes, she just shrugged and said, "OK."

See that picture up there? That was the view from our room. I could just stop there but they don't pay me to be concise. Our schedule for the entire time we were there was sleep in, go have breakfast among the sea breezes, claim a spot on the beach to read or write for a few hours (with frequent swims in the ocean an visits to the bar,) have lunch in a wall-less cathedral of dining, swim in or lay out near the pool (with frequent swim-ups to the swim-up bar,) take a nap, look in the mirror to see all the spots the sunscreen didn't quite make it, get dressed up for dinner, eat in one of the resort's nice restaurants, walk off our rich meal on the dark beach while cool sand sifted through our toes like fine sugar.

Distance didn't quite erase the parent out of me. There were sisters there almost exactly Clara and Kate's age who always seemed to be wherever we were, making me miss the girls. I look forward to being able to share a trip like that with them. Oh yeah, we're doing that with the Etters in a couple of months...

Stop throwing stuff at your screen.

As a follow-up to my last post on being the Green Dad, I got my first paycheck as a writer: $1.29. So if you come to St. Louis I'll buy you a tall coffee - or a venti water. On the list of links to the left is one that says "green building articles." That will take you to my author page with everything I've published so far. Check back often and I just might make enough to buy you a mocha. Also, if you use Stumbleupon, an online social networking tool, do me a favor and give my blog posts - both here and on the green site - thumbs up. It turns out Stumbleupon is one of the greatest sources of traffic for web sites. I appreciate it.


Anonymous said...

Lucky butt! I want to go to Aruba--looks gorgeous... I have to admit, I almost broke my screen with that CD case! just kidding


Tracy Bittle said...

I wrote this big long comment when I got home from St. Louis and the computer ate it. So, in my mind I had already posted a comment.

I have told Joel and Megan both how much I appreciated the time with the girls. My biggest fear used to be that they wouldn't know how much I love them or remember who I was. This trip changed that. Now, my biggest fear is after spending 5 days alone with Auntie Tracy they will remember I make them eat vegetables too!

Seriously though, I have such great memories of the two of them. Several stories stand out in my mind. Clara is very literal, much like Alex. If you tell her something you had better say EXACTLY what you plan on doing and what you mean. She will remember every word you have said and can repeat it! Oh, and anything she shouldn't have is "her favorite". Kate. Oh, Kate. One morning I was trying to figure out how to safely shower upstairs while they were awake. Clara was sitting in front of a tivo recorded kids show playing with some toys. I figured I was good with Clara. I was not sure about Kate. She IS two after all. So I thought, I'll see what she says. She was sitting on the couch holding "little clarice" sucking on her thumb as innocent as could be. I said to the girls, I'm going to go upstairs and take a shower. Clara says "ok Auntie Tracy". Kate, sucking her thumb with these big gorgeous brown eyes staring at me simply shook her head "no". I went over to Kate and kissed her neck and face and gave her a big squishy hug. She says in that two year old way "GO AWAY". I told her, I can't I love to kiss you. She repeats a bit more sternly "GO AWAY". I resort to tickling, hugging and kissing all at the same time. She looks up at me very seriously and says "Go take a Shower"!. HELLO, kid, you are two.

There are few people in this world that I love more than these girls.

Thank you, Joel and Megan, for giving me a special week with the girls.

Tracy Bittle said...

I forgot to mention, I was too afraid to go take that shower. I waited until nap time :).

Mary said...

Oh my, beautiful, has been wanting to go to Aruba for a long time, will do when the chance come, thanks for the post - useful

Farrell said...

I love aruba!
I never win trips!