I just bought three tickets to Maine, a 9 hour flight form California.
It was going to be for just my 8 year old son and I, leaving our 9 year old with dad for 2 weeks.
But I reconsidered after calling a cousin, who would be our first stop, just outside of Portland, where she’s raising her two kids. She said “Don’t leave it up to your 9 year old! He’ll love it. Get him the ticket”
So I did. I had 24 hours to change the tickets, if needed, but he would still be in school, so I had to tell him that morning. I was braced for a battle, he’s stubborn ( like his folks). Kid’s got grit. He’s a fighter. I had to come up with some things to sweeten the deal. Fair but firm. As soon as he caught on to what I had done, he started crying. Oh my god, really? I go down the list: “Honey, look, it’ll be soo fun! We’re gong to rent a brand new car! (I think I had him at Brand New) Your uncle’s have dirt bikes, BB guns, safety googles and fishing rods!” He’s listening. “You can sleep out under the stars with me in the screened in tent! In the morning you can go jump in the quarry, catch frogs all day! Yes, they’re slippery and tricky, but you’re strong! We can work on our cabin, they have all the tools: hammers! Saws! Safety googles. We’ll go sailing, see puppet shows, get ice cream! Your brother and I will be eating lobster, but you can have blueberry pie, and I’ll even let you have a Coca-Cola, in the glass bottle with real sugar, from Mexico!” The tears have dried in their tracks, half way down his freckled cheek. I am relieved. That went well.
But oh shit what have I gotten my self into. Two weeks with these guys, on my own. Husband will be back in San Francisco.
“I. Want. This.” Is an actual mantra to rewire the brain when in uncomfortable situations. I will be repeating this all Summer. I. Want. This.
But, I actually do. I want this, for them, for me. Their grandparents aren't around anymore, ‘In heaven’ I say. But this, they left you this. “ A hundred acres” my 8 year old says, proudly, even though it’s really only about 87. It feels like more than a hundred. In the center of a thick forest, all you can see are trees forever, it could be a hundred years ago, you could be a hundred years olds, or a hundred days young. It’s a timeless place and when I go back, I am 8 years old, too. I’ll be a good, watchful mom. I can rent a car with a major credit card, and order a beer while they drink lemonade, or that ‘just this once’ Coke. But I get to swim in memories as sweet and warm as the quarry water. I get to hold my breath and disappear, for a minute and say hello to mom and dad, in the deep green water, where the turtles sleep, and the minnows nibble. And that big, tricky bullfrog? He’s in my throat, again. But I am strong. Slippery, but strong.