Ahhh vacation, where families play together and bond, when they are not driving each other to insanity.
The time before last when we visited Telluride, Baddy and I were pregnant with Thumper. With the first, we nurtured the baby together as it grew in my stomach. It was fall and there was a chill in the air as we walked to an incredibly romantic French Restaurant, Baddy singing quietly to Thumper resting in my womb.
The time before that, I was single and visiting the Bluegrass Festival with my sister and THAT was one of the best weekends of my life. Can’t remember where I slept.
This time though? Not so good. The energy was off. Who woulda’ thought things could go awry in one of our favorite Western towns?
As adventurous and exciting leaving home can be, traveling tends to also bring out deep rooted family issues. Should I begin by admitting that Baddy and I are not the most patient parents in the world when it comes to training highly excitable boys. We are challenged, to say the least. The children are forever growing and changing and as soon as we have an aha moment, they throw us a curve ball. The loving part is easy, for as my mother says, children are made soft and beautiful so parents give them the love they need to grow and thrive. But what about when their sweetness turns sour?
I often want to sink my lips into Hootie-Hoo’s soft fuzzy cheeks and stare into his luminous inquisitive eyes as he teeters between innocent youth and boyhood. Always glued to my side, his soft little hand slips into mine. All is fine and good until he gets hungry, or cold, or tired or doesn’t get what he wants, and then he turns into a little beast causing a disconnect in my brain that leaves me twitching.
Thumper enhances the twitch, with his own “free-style,” dressing in high colorful ski socks, oversized athletic shorts and a colorful sweatshirt, XL. I’m not sure whether to praise his trend setting ways or set him straight. He’s not so easy to communicate with these days, breaking out in a rage when I won’t allow him to roam around Telluride at night with his friends and “girlfriends.” “Stop mothering me,” he wails. “You just want to embarrass me by making me check in with you all the time,” and so I pick my battles.
Rushing to join his flyboy posse in the pool, he bursts into our room in despair, “Really mommy?” he moans, his Baddy’s long legs cascading out of the only swim trunks I brought for him. He’s growing as fast as Alice in Wonderland, after eating a wafer to reach the key.
And poor Axel, constantly getting his heart broken when big brother joins together with his friends and drops his little sidekick like a hot potato, even though he admits that for a little brother, Axel is pretty cool.
And don’t think the almighty Baddy doesn’t contribute. “It’s not about commands, it’s about connecting,” I preach to him as he rolls his eyes.
The weekend had it’s ups and downs until the third day of the trip when things took a turn for the worse. We were on a double green run when we stopped to watch the boys jump off a little ledge. We stood looking up, a ski school class of kids directly beneath us, and then it happened. I looked over to see Baddy flying toward me through the air, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. His ribs slammed into by an out of control snowboarder. And then he was on the ground writhing in pain, two ribs broken.
The seventeen year old snowboarder doesn’t know that Baddy had to miss the Competition Award Ceremony that night and that he has to still go to work instead of resting in bed to heal. He doesn’t know that Baddy is running through the gamut of emotions as he relives the accident and asks what if? What if it had been one of our children and not he who had been hit? What if it were one of our kids, injuring an innocent victim because of carelessness?
When Baddy asked if the kids were scared when they saw their grown father get hurt I had an image of them laying down on the mountain eating snow, not too concerned. Our brother-in-law hit the hammer on the nail when describing their father as tough as a boiled owl consequently, the kids don’t get phased much when Baddy takes a fall.
And now we are into spring break and it sure does feel broken with an injured husband and depressing weather that does not lend itself to do anything other than skiing. And the truth is, I’m a little tired of hanging out in terrain parks. I know, I know….poor, poor Jillian.
Thankfully there are always the movies and it is helpful when the film has a positive message like “Mars Needs Moms.” That movie seems to have woken up Axel and he is extremely loving, taking bike rides with me in the cold and checking in to tell me he loves me. I need to take Thumper so my twitch doesn’t begin to spread throughout my body.
Or perhaps, I’ll just pack up the car with them and….travel.