Monday, September 28, 2009
Overdue travel: ripping off the band-aid
We have never gone to the beach. Except for in Maine. But not once in 9 years of living in the DC Metro area have we been to the ocean as a couple or as a family. Last year I took my son to visit my sister and her kids in the Outer Banks. But the three of us in our nuclear unit have never gone to the beach together or even been on any vacation that didn't involve going to visit family or friends.
We finally changed that. It seemed unwise to go through with our first kid-free vacation to leave our traumatized-by-the-beginning-of-school boy with his grandma overnight for the first time. So instead we all headed down to Chincoteague and Assateague Island for a short getaway.
I do mean short. We arrived at the hotel at 10:30 p.m. on a Thursday and headed for home the next day just after 2 p.m. It was cold and windy and a little rainy. But our little boy had a fabulous time playing in the waves just the same. We were out there for about a hour and a half, including two changes of clothing for me (pants to shorts and donning an extra jacket) and three for the little guy (into bathing suit from shorts, then to extra long-sleeved bathing suit on top).
Then we visited the nature center where some folks were going to set free Monarch butterflies they had raised and tagged. We learned about terrapin turtles and got to touch a horseshoe crab (I'd come to believe there never really was an animal -- only an empty shell). My husband stayed shivering in the car predicting nightmares about the swarms of mosquitoes closer to the woods while I jogged with my boy on my hip to give him at least a glance at some wild ponies. We ate lunch in town and then spent a while keeping our kid's fingers off fragile items in a gallery before buying a piece of art for the first time in years.
I told my husband that this trip was like ripping off a band-aid. We just needed to do it in order to move on. Now that we've done something, I'm hoping we can make it out to Shenandoah for some hikes and eventually back to Assateague for camping, which I've heard lovely.
And then the next band-aid will be to finally get away for a night without our little one.