Monday, June 27, 2011

Powerful

This morning, before work, I dropped Ben off at Grammie and Poppie's house. I got him out of his car seat and let him run up the driveway toward the house. Grammie came down the drive to get the diaper bag from me so I could get right back on the road. While I was making the hand-off, we heard Ben start to cry. When I looked over, he was picking himself up off the ground. Instead of his usual, "I'm OK," he continued to cry even after standing up. I swooped in and picked him up, and through his tears he demanded, "You have to kiss it!" I looked down to his knees and found them scraped and bleeding. So I put one arm behind his knees to lift them. Then I kissed them and carried him, cradled in my arms, into the house. I laid him on the couch and kissed his knees again. He was still crying, but calming down now. He was in good hands, so I left the house and got back in the car. As I drove away, I had this thought: I am Daddy, and I am powerful.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Speaking of Excited

My mom and Rosie are currently on their way south. Their goal is to arrive at our house at about the same time I get home from work. They're staying till Monday morning. Everybody involved is very excited about this visit. It's been two months since I last saw them, and for Ben and Karin it's been even longer. I love them and am always glad to see them, and, I'll admit, I'm looking forward to having two extra adults around the house. Probably the biggest joy in a visit from any of my family, though, is watching how excited they are to see Ben, and how excited he is to see them. Whenever we've mentioned that Mimi and Gum are coming to visit soon, he demands, "Want Mimi Gum come my house now!" If you do not follow Ben on Twitter, you haven't seen the list he made of all the things he wants to do with my mom and Rosie while they are here; Karin transcribed it on Monday night:
Things Ben wants to do with Mimi & Gum
  • Go to fish store
  • Play hide & seek with orange teddy bear
  • Go to playground by our house
  • Play outside in our backyard in crab pool
  • Go get donuts
  • Spell cars' names
  • The last one, I suppose, needs a little explanation. Ben is learning his letters, and can recognize all the capital letters. He knows how to spell his name, and, if presented with the letters, can pick out B, E, and N in order. One of his favorite pastimes is spelling out the names of people he knows or characters from stories. He needs to ask about the spelling, of course, and he can't write, so he either spells them with preexisting letters, or helps to hold a pencil while someone else writes out the letters. And, like seemingly every other little boy on the planet, he loves Pixar's "Cars."

    The thing is, as excited as we all are for these next few days, the much more exciting occasion will be when Mimi and Gum come to Lancaster County for good. After much stress and toil and expenditure, their house is finally in ready-to-sell condition, and they hope to put it on the market soon. They have been planning to move for years now, but it is only since they have reached this latest stage that I have allowed myself to consider all the profound and wonderful ways their moving down here will change my life. I could expound, I could gush, I could predict, but instead I will leave you with only this thought: by the time Mom and Rosie move here, it will have been more than ten years since the last time I was able to consistently see my mother more than once every few months. And isn't that enough?

    Monday, June 13, 2011

    33 Days

    That is how much time remains until we cast off the shackles of Lancaster and head north for the Cape. I mean, the shackles here are lovely, they really are, but I cannot wait for a week at the beach. Last year's trip was so laid back, so relaxing, so much fun. Upon our return last year, Karin and I were already looking forward to this year's trip; "only 12 months to go," we said. As that interval has grown shorter and shorter, we have grown more and more excited. It's only in the last couple of days, though, that we've actually begun preparations. It's got me excited enough that I couldn't even wait for a round number of days (1 month, 4 weeks, etc.) before to post. 33 days remain, and I will be counting each one. Of course, it's bound to be the longest 33 days of the year, but isn't that always the way?

    Normally, before any long trip with Ben, I would have my reservations, my worries that all would not proceed as planned, and I suppose that those reservations are present. But after last year's unbelievably smooth trip, I am optimistic. Of course, not everything went perfectly last year: Ben got his first black eye (on my watch; it didn't seem to bother him much, though), and, if I remember correctly, the drive up was fairly miserable, Ben screaming a significant percentage of the way. The drive up is one aspect of this year's trip that we haven't quite nailed down yet. We have made the drive from Lancaster to New England and back three times since Ben was born. Every time we have begun the journey at approximately Ben's bedtime, planning for him to sleep most of the way. Of the six legs we have driven, only two have worked out anything like planned. Every other time has been a threat to our sanity. Also, I work until midnight now, so there will be no leaving at 7 pm unless we wait till Saturday night. Sacrifice an entire day of getaway? No way. So the drive will probably begin Saturday morning. The way I see it , I get home from work around 12:45, pack everything into the car, wake Karin, place Ben, still sleeping, into his car seat, and head north. I have yet to fully evaluate the rationality of this scheme.

    I am so excited not only because we are repeating a vacation that ranked as one of the best I have ever taken, and as almost certainly the best week of last year, but because this year there promises to be even more to enjoy. Ben had a blast last year, but he wasn't even talking yet. A year older, he'll be that much more able to enjoy the beach and the adventure. And he'll be able to tell us about it. The trip this year will bring together family from five states. Both my siblings will be in attendance (an always dangerous, but always awesome occasion), as will (presumably) both my step-siblings, at least for part of the week. That's even more for Ben to love, as Auntie April and Uncle Casey are two of his very favorite people in all the world (this is a tangent, but a worthy one–if Ben picks up a toy telephone and you ask him who he is calling, the answer is almost always Auntie April, if not, it's Uncle Casey). Also new this year, a trip to Nantucket. We'll take the ferry over one morning (Ben's first boat ride), and spend the day. My grandparents live on the Island, as do an aunt and uncle and some cousins (and maybe some more family members; I'm not good at keeping track of this stuff).

    So there's all of that, and much much more, but I'm only going to bore you if I continue. Thank you for allowing this outlet for my enthusiasm. And, if you care about such things, there are many more photos (82 more, in fact) where that one above came from: Vacation 2010 on Flickr.