The Queen Bee’s Excellent Vacation Adventure

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Me and the Kids … 1991-ish

When I was younger and had three little kids, life was busy. I loved being responsible for the care and feeding of three little humans (It was the best job I’ve ever had!) and I sometimes tried to imagine what life would be after they flew the nest … less laundry, less cooking, less busy. One of the things we all liked best was going to the beach with my mother (GranJan).

I used to pack up the “mommy van” (yes, it had wood paneled sides) with three little kids and drive from Central Ohio to Connecticut and then on to Rhode Island. They loved staying in a cheap Knights Inn somewhere in the middle of the trip. They “hated” Pennsylvania because it took such a long time to drive through. But the drive was always worth it when we got to the beach. All of the kids spent every summer there until about the year 1999 or 2000. Since they spent more years there, my girls have a greater connection to the place. The girls have returned to visit or drive through a few times. Kate met Heather at the beach. Her family owned a home there until about ten years ago. She had visited at the beach with Heather a couple of times and, as facts would have it, even slept in the house that I rented.

Anyway … we planned for a week in the late season and as it turned out the timing was perfect. The house was perfect and well equipped. The original part of the cottage was built in the late 1800s. It has a living/dining room, kitchen, a couple of bedrooms and a bath but over the years, we figure, they added on bit by bit. Now there are three bedrooms and two baths in the main house and another two bedrooms and two baths in the new addition. There was plenty of space for all of us and room for another family, too. The kids and their significant others and their dogs all had space to live comfortably for a week. And we did!

The Nest with a Handsome Visitor at the Door
The Perch (the new addition)

We spent a lot of time outside. It’s an easy walk to “sea glass” beach or the “kiddie” beach and we enjoyed both. Since it was after the season, we were able to enjoy the beaches with the dogs and alone. We looked, but there is not much sea glass at “sea glass” beach these days.

We spent enough time at the beach to get a good dose of sunburn and that felt really great! We also spent a lot of time in the yard. We had a nice patio and yard with a grill and picnic table or two where we could enjoy the view of the ocean from the house and some smores.

Ahh! A View of the Ocean

We ate well, we stayed up late, we played fun games and had a puzzle-palooza competition. We filled the recycling container more than once with La Croix seltzer cans, wine and beer bottles. We visited Watch Hill for ice cream cones, peach, of course, and a bit of shopping. We had some trouble finding a place that was open for lobster rolls but we found a brewery in Westerly that had a great summer ale for $10 a case.

And my heart is full.

Nothing makes this mom happier than being with my kids. We haven’t spent time like this together for a long, long time. We think the last time we were at the beach was twenty-two years ago, plus or minus a year or two. I’m not sure that we’ve all been anywhere together for a week since then, actually. We’ve had weekends here and there, we’ve had some of us together (during the first pandemic summer) for a week or two, but not all of my kids for a week all together. The pile of shoes left at the front door was life affirming. The laughter around the fire pit was, too.

I am so grateful to have been able to spend this vacation with my three kids, two husbands, a girlfriend, my sweet, patient husband and our seven dogs. We had a great visit with my aunt and uncle who came all the way from Lake Tahoe to visit with our family and we had a visit from a summer camp friend who happened to be at the next beach over on business. It was, in a word, good!

I’ll forever be grateful to have been able to do this with my kids. Spending time together, reconnecting, getting to see their relationships, getting to know their significant others better. It was a walk down memory lane and a memory-making vacation that we all enjoyed. AND we are already planning our vacation for next year!

I have been knitting … more on that later!

Gone knitting.

Four Years as an Orphan

Mom Jumping the Waves at Weekapaug

When my mother died, after ten years in the prison of Alzheimer’s Disease, my eldest (at the time) nephew, Will once again wowed us with his wisdom. He told us that only now were we all adults because we didn’t have any parents any more. (Wish I could remember the exact words he used. I will have to ask his mother!)

So, I’ve been an adult for four years now and it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Not only am I the first in line to die now but I am getting creakier but still feel so youthful (most of the time.) I am trying to spend the day with joyful memories of mom rather than being sad … and I’ve only had to wipe away the tears a few times so far.

Bear with Apple at Red Gate

Mom rented a house in Weekapaug, RI for several summer and we were so lucky to be able to spend the month with her there. The drive with three little kids (and Flo, my French daughter) was always an adventure and I remember thanking God for Knights Inns. We’d stop half way for the night and Kate loved the decor in the hotel and I needed to sleep! We had such good times at the beach and one of these days I will scan all the photographs so that I can share more. Weekapaug friends are still in our lives and when we win the lottery, we’re going to buy a house there at the beach. Maybe Red Gate – a huge old cottage that was our favorite, I think. A rambling old home that had been in the same family for generations. It had several porches and was near enough to the water that you could hear the waves at night.

Mom & Kate at the Zoo

When mom visited us in Cincinnati, she loved to take the kids out for a day with GranJan. Up until she couldn’t travel anymore, she would borrow my van and drive to the mall and the day was always a favorite of the kids – mostly the girls because my son was so young – but they’d shop for clothes and toys, have lunch and Auntie Anne’s pretzels. Build A Bear was always a favorite stop. Toy R Us was across the street and there were hours spent there, too. Mom loved the zoo, too. We were always members of the zoo and loved going down there for an hour or for a day …  and in the winter, it was even more fun because the animals were (mostly) more active!

She was a task-master, a critic, a tennis fanatic (both on the courts and around the courts), a caring daughter, sister, aunt, friend. We were lucky to have her for as long as we did! My life today is better because of her … even with the disagreements that we had! 🙂

I miss her. I know she’s free of her disease now and I’m sure she’s proud of my three kids and of me. She’s watching over us every day – and she’s smiling!

Gone knitting!