I always hated people who returned from a long, glorious time away from the office and whined about needing a vacation from the vacation. I think they’re the same people who smirk, “half day?” when you leave at 5:30.
And yet, it’s kind of how I feel after getting home from Vermont.
Or Gramont, as the kids call it.
Admittedly Nate and I were about 10% worried about how we might all get along–three families together in one huge beautiful house, bonded mainly by the fact that our daughters were kindergarten friends and that we all thought it would be a good idea to drunk bid on the house at our school auction.
6 adults, 6 kids, 8 bedrooms, 7 gorgeous sunsets, and 1 ginormous tray of cheese grits that fed us for an entire week. Turns out, not much to complain about.
Except that (and here I whisper) I’m tired.
We went from circus to 4th of July parade. Cooked out, camped out, threw a birthday party for Thalia in a blackout. We watched the girls make their own little parade, complete with candy throwing, which we now know is the most important part.
We spent hours in the car without ever putting on a DVD, leaving room for counting cows and license plates. We toured the Ben and Jerry’s factory and even jaunted up to Canada for a day to visit what we were told were “fields of lavender,” but turned out to be more like a lavender theme park complete with entry fee and gift shop. Still, it was the best smelling theme park ever in history.
Be assured that along with $120 in soaps and lotions, we did not take home a giant pot of lavender home across the border, because that would be illegal and wrong.
It’s funny, we did so much and yet it all seems to blur together. When I conjure up Vermont, mostly what comes to mind is having time alone with my family, singing in the car, having conversations that don’t get interrupted by telephone calls, and simply watching my little girls become big ones.
We working moms don’t tend to get that many consecutive hours with our families all at once. I don’t get the opportunity to see how they interact with friends every day, which games they make up with them, and who whines when they lose. They have entire sides of themselves that we don’t see. It was a joy to be let in if only briefly. At least when they weren’t whining.
All in all, a week off well worth having.
The girls now know the better part of the Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack and Thalia can tell you with great confidence that the capital of Vermont is Montpelier. (Please look very impressed if she ever does. We promised her it would get a reaction.) They camped out in a tent with Nate one night and learned their first campfire story. They listened avidly to every mysterious legend I could think of, from the Yeti to the Loch Ness Monster, to Area 51.
In fact, Thalia has announced that she wants to grow up to “be the first girl president,” and when she does, she will find out about the aliens and let us know.
We told her that no child whose mother has a blog will ever be president. But keep dreaming those dreams.
They roasted s’mores over the grill, striving to achieve that delicate marshmallow balance between golden brown and unappealingly burnt. They learned way too much about Katy Perry, thanks to one of their friends. And thanks to her brother, they learned the finer points of the original Star Wars trilogy. They learned how to do seat drops on a trampoline. They identified Queen Anne’s Lace on the side of the road. They spotted deer and ravens and beavers.
Also, they learned about capitalism.
Thalia and the other kids invited me outside to their “water stand.” Not even a lemonade stand–just water. I was informed that for one dollar I could have a cup of water, for two dollars I could have ice in it, and for three dollars I could have “fruit ice.” Fruit ice being ice that sat on top of an ice tray intended to make ice in the shapes of fruits, but didn’t.
For an extra fifty cents we would get to keep the commemorative cup. I stuck with the dollar version.
When I asked Thalia later what she would do with all the profits, she told me she was going to split them equally among everyone who worked for the company including the two year-old who just kept them company.
So I guess I’m glad we took that Ben and Jerry’s tour after all.