I love my passport. I love the stamps from far away locations gracing each page (although it irks me when customs randomly selects a page to stamp – seriously, why can’t they just stamp in order!) and the tiny stickers placed on the back of the book. But most often, these trips, while great fun, involve sightseeing, jet lag and sore feet. So as much as I love my passport, I also love Route 539 which is my passport and passageway to the Jersey Shore.
Over the years, much of the route and its fixtures remain the same. But from time to time, there is a subtle change or a Super Wawa that graces the route along the way. Even the children have come to recognize the landmarks along the way. When we reach the American Flag Rock, the kids know that we are half way to our final destination – that is unless we are vacationing in LBI which then means we are minutes away from vacation time.
There is something comforting and reassuring about this county road that stretches the four counties we pass through to reach the beaches of Cape May. And each year we travel this road, new memories are made and old memories are cherished through conversation and laughter. Once upon a time, it was just Hubby and I racing our way down the single lane road with a small bag flung in the back seat with the tunes cranking and the windows rolled down. Now seated behind us are two passengers who vie for their music selections as we sit in a temperature controlled SUV amidst sand toys, suitcases, games and toys.
Yes, times have changed but so have we. Despite the ordeal that is associated with packing up for the beach with two children, their delight and absolute glee about vacationing on the beach is far better than days gone by (although I do miss reading peacefully on the beach with my one towel, water bottle….the pleasant dinners eating bayside…..the late mornings sleeping in….but I digress.
Route 539 captures every essence of the best part of summer vacation – getting there!
My parents raised two children – myself and my brother. They fed us. They bathed us. They even took us out to places. And for all intents and purpose, I think they did a pretty terrific job in raising us to become the people we are today.
So why is it that I worry so much when I leave my parents in charge of my children? When my parents indicate they are headed to the movies with the kids, fears of my kids choking consume me despite the fact that they successfully took my brother and I to the movies all the time. When they suggest they take the kids food shopping with them, fears of them leaving the supermarket without them engulf me, despite the fact they never left my brother or I behind at any retail establishment. Don’t even get me started on the idea of them driving with the children anywhere that requires them parking in a parking lot or crossing the street. My parents successfully took us everywhere and anywhere without ever having a pedestrian accident. Regardless of what or where they bring my children, sheer panic sets in the minute my parents take the children off my property.
Last week, I did what I thought I could never do – I left them in charge of my children for more than 24 hours. And you know what? My children were absolutely 100% fine. Of course, I checked in several times and was respectfully asked by my oldest to, “Stop calling. We are ok!”
My mother once told me that worry would set in the minute I held my child and it would never cease regardless of who they are with or how old they become. Yep….she was right!
To date, I have experienced the Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Summer Camp Drop-off jitters. But never have I experienced Summer Camp Drop-off jitters for children who are not my own – that is, until this morning.
A seasoned vet to this process, my daughter mingled with her friends and paid very little attention to me as we stood waiting for the camp doors to open. As I stood nearby (because any closer to my daughter is “not cool”), I recognized my good friend and fellow Mommy Blogger dropping off her twin boys as Summer Camp Newbies.
Perhaps because my daughter didn’t need me, as they approached us, I instantly was consumed with Summer Camp Drop-off jitters. I quickly tried to connect the twins with another little boy who we also know and love who was also a Summer Camp Newbie.
“Twins, meet our dear little friend.” aka……Dear Little Friend, meet these darling twins who know absolutely no one so please be their friend.
The twins clung to their Mom and my dear little friend, kindly accepted my request as he clutched his Dad’s hand.
As the campers were ushered in, my daughter quickly gave me her hug and kiss and excitedly went off to fun. The twins and my dear little friend, cautiously made their way with their camp counselors, as their parents slowly walked backwards easing the detachment between parent and child- afraid that any sudden movement would cause panic.
And what happened next – happens all the time. And it doesn’t get any easier.
The boys (all three of them) walked into Summer Camp leaving us all behind without looking back.
As the door closed behind the Summer Campers, I hugged my friends fighting back my own tears for three boys that weren’t even mine!
Finally Friday is all about breathing a sigh of relief that the week is over with a photo and its “short” quote. Yes – similar to Wordless Wednesday, but created for those who have no capacity to be wordless such as myself. I’m Italian and I am just getting over trying to say things in 140 characters or less on Twitter.
Today I share of photo of something I haven’t used in over ten years. In fact, since the original copy was expired three years ago, the one I have now is brand-spanking new. It’s my passport and soon I will be leaving for Europe for a much-needed vacation with Hubby and without our children. I am excited. I am nervous.
This trip couldn’t be possible without the help of both my parents and my in-laws. We are very blessed not only that our children have both sets of grandparents but that they get to spend some quality time with them.
So there will be no Finally Friday next week but I promise to have plenty when I return.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a Finally Friday to share? Include your blog post in the link below or simply share with me on Facebook.
Happy Finally Friday!
I recall a conversation I had with a Mother many moons ago. Seated in the pediatrician’s waiting room, I nervously attended to my new-born daughter while the fellow mom discussed plans with her son who was maybe five or six. She was stressing the importance of being on his best behavior in the coming week. Because the waiting area was so small or perhaps it was the lack of sleep, I found myself engrossed in her conversation and my weirdo-glaring must have caught her attention. Without asking any questions, she simply explained, she was going away for a small vacation without her children.
I suppose my jaw dropped to the floor because she knowingly explained, “When the time is right, you will know.”
Eight years later, I find myself ready to embark on such a trip. In a few short days, I will be boarding a plane and flying away with Hubby while the children will be safely on the ground in their very own rooms under the care of my parents and in-laws. From the moment the trip was booked, I was consumed with worry. And now that the our depature date is so close, I decided to write down the schedule my parents and in-laws would need to follow – a cheat sheet of sorts -to the help them manage through the week. Mind you, the week we selected for our ”adult vacation” could not be more perfect. All after school activities have concluded and there are no birthday parties or meetings or events populating the schedule. But none the less, I sat at my desk and began writing, “While We Are Away”.
Within minutes I was finished with my cheat sheet.
Important phone numbers, check.
Lnch ideas, check.
Friends, this sheet was just one page and prepared in one simple chart. Didn’t I write a 20-page instructional when I left the children for one night back in 2007?
One page. Just one page?
Looking back, I now understand what was mean by When the Time is Right. My children and parents and in-laws will manage just fine without us because The Time IS Right.