We looked forward to this past vacation for months. Literally, every week, our trip to Gramma’s house on the beach would come up and we would talk about how excited we were to go and how much fun we were going to have. The excitement of riding on the ferry boat; the big, huge, fast, ferry boat that zooms us from the mainland to an island with golf carts and bicycles as the main transportation modes. We wondered if Black Beard himself would leave us clues to find another treasure…and then Daddy got a new job and what was supposed to be a big family vacation, changed to a vacation without Daddy. Of course, we were happy Daddy is a rock star and got a great new job, but the prospect of vacationing for 2 weeks without him was sad and to me, a bit scary, 2 weeks on my own, not in my own standard environment…can I even handle this? Only time will tell.
The kids seemed to take Daddy not being able to come with ease, especially after he went from being home most days to being gone regularly from 7am-8pm. So, this is what single-weekday parenting is like, I thought to myself many a nights. I kept the kids focused on the upcoming trip and even with the sadness of school ending for the summer we had a bright start to kick it off! Conor one day said, “I’m really sad school is ending next week, but I am REALLY happy we’re going to Gramma’s beach house right after.”
The entire week leading up I packed everything except what we’d be wearing and bringing on the plane. My sanity could only handle so much and this seemed to ease any anxiety that I was secretly harboring underneath it all. I thought to myself: If I am well-prepped with my action plan in my head; getting 3 kids under 5 and myself checked in, through security, fed, seated in the plane and not screaming on the plane…might actually happen.
The morning of departure finally arrived and Tommy brought us to the airport, where we curb checked – worth every $2/bag charge in my opinion (which did not include the car seats – bonus!). With the bags/car seats checked, I put lil Phi in the Ergo, strapped Ada into the single stroller while Conor “led” the way to security, all the while complaining his backpack was too heavy. I think I said to him he could put whatever he didn’t want in the trash and that would make his backpack lighter. The look I got from him was horror and thankfully too, I’m not sure what I would have done had he taken me up on this! Security was a breeze…although in my own carry-on, I had my mac, my iPhone, my Kindle, and the iTouch for the kids to watch TV on…I felt bad for any poor sole who decided to get behind us in line…they did see a single woman with 3 kids in front of them, right!? The rest of the airport experience flew by (literally!), with the only snafu occurring when Phoenix tried to crawl his way to the gate from the kid’s section at the Jet Blue terminal, while saying “A-da, A-da,” the along the way! Not to worry, Grandparents, he only got about 30 feet (I was filling water bottles)!
The trip itself was a blast and thankfully North Carolina wasn’t in a heat wave yet (which they entered into the last few days we were down there with temps hovering around 105). Staying and playing on Baldhead Island is a treat for anyone, young or old, the pace is slow, the water cool and golf carts, bike riding and kayaking (ask the kids Uncle about this! – it took him 5 hours) are the easiest ways around the island.
All in all, there were 7 kids staying at the house, if you don’t include the adults (some of whom wished they could pretend to be a kid for a day – myself included!). With 3 families and 7 kids in one house, the chaos a constant hum in the background. I enforced “quiet/nap time” daily and really as a means of getting my own sanity back before the witching hours hit us 7-fold at 5pm! I also mastered the brilliance of the iPad by signing up for Netflix streaming before we left and letting Conor, who undoubtedly would wake up at 5:45am no matter how late he went to bed the night before; watch cartoons till the rest of us woke up around 7…or maybe 8, if I was feeling really generous or really just trying to push off the inevitable of starting the day with 3 kids solo!
The week seemed to fly by and each day had its UPS and downs, but certainly most were filled with good times and lots of laughs, especially during our pirate treasure hunt (now becoming an annual tradition where we hide clues and take the kids on a scavenger hunt that leads us to a treasure filled chest). Having family around for a whole week, made all the difference in the world as everyone was so helpful! It’s funny, had it just been the 4 of us, I think the week would have almost been routine in some respects, but we didn’t. There were 7 cousins all together (6 boys and 1 girl), 2 brothers and their wives, GrammaGramma and me. That many kids in an enclosed space for any length of time can become prickly. Seriously, HOW do preschool teachers do it? Swimming and playing on the beach was our savior as was riding my bike with the chariot around the island. Conor rode with me most times, along with his cousin and my sister-in-law. The island is not very big, so on any given adventure we’d go about 4 miles. Half the time Conor would be whining about how his legs were asleep, and the other half he’d be racing to be the leader.
All in all a good trip: We made it back across the ferry without falling in the ocean and although there was never a dull moment, there was lots of chill time and time for Mommy to reflect on things in my life. I went into the week a ball of stress and I came out the other end with a little bit of Zen…and my 3 kids.
Thank you Baldy – another good trip with lots of good times had by all – till next year, May your Light continue to shine for those of us who hope to catch a glimpse.