This past New Years holiday weekend, Troy, Gwen, Garrick, and I slept in a log cabin in the “mountains” of Western Maryland. (You have to put the words “Mountains” in parentheses when referring to anything in the mid-atlantic after visiting Montana. It’s a western snob kind of thing).
I forgot to pack half of the necessary kitchen requirements because I had a teeny weensie insignificant little “melt-down” the morning we left (the kind where you are yelling in the shower at anyone who will hear about every perceived wrong that was unfairly done to you in the past week. The kind that uses a half a dozen inappropriate words, many of which you know your kids will actually google later when you aren’t looking…) This resulted in us using Grapefruit scented bath and body gel as dish soap, and Clorox Bleach Wipes as sponges in the tiny cabin kitchenette. It worked fine, except that our coffee, soup, beans and rice, and yogurt had a rather antisceptic, citrusy tang to it. Nobody complained…a positive side effect to the melt down mentioned above.
I also forgot to bring flip-flops for shower shoes for us, and THAT resulted in everyone (except Troy, who simply manned up and risked the germs) showered in mommy’s crocs. I don’t believe my crocs were ever cleaner, even when they were brand spankin new. I also forgot to pack socks to match my pink sweatpants, so I had my olive and black and purple argyle socks with my baby pink sweatpants and my ridiculously shiny clean black crocs. I rocked it. Troy never felt prouder to have such a gem on his arm.
Despite all the packing blunders, we plowed on, determined to make 2012 begin with a BANG! So, we braved a State Park “First Day” Hike in Swallow Falls that was breath-taking. Breath-taking for Troy and the kids for the amazing beauty of the wilderness surrounding us. Breath-taking for me because, well, flubber takes a lot of O2 to get moving. (If anyone reading this happens to hike the main trail at Swallow Falls and finds a 44 year old lung somewhere in the underbrush, it’s mine. Please return it ASAP.) It got to the point where my beautiful 10 year old daughter, the sweet little peanut I carried around lovingly and nurturingly for years and years, told me that she refused to wait for me anymore because she didn’t want the Ranger to forget about and/or lose us. And true to her word, she left me in the woods to fend and hobble along for myself. I got the last laugh though, because THIS fatty McGee knows her priorities, and I had THE SNACKS AND DRINKS in my bag! Guess I’m not so expendable NOW, AM I?? (insert maniacal laugh)
Back at the cabin, we built a cozy fire in the wood stove, and then almost immediately had to open ALL of the windows because it was molten-lava hot within 20 minutes in our tiny little cabin. Lemme tell you what a crazy fun idea it is to be shut up in a little tiny cabin with three people who know all of your little buttons (see eensy weensie melt down above) and then turn the ambient temperature stiflingly HOT. We should have added a couple of hand to hand combat weapons in the mix, just to make it more interesting. Oh, it was genius. Brilliant. We took ‘Togetherness’ to a new level.
We had a few not-so-friendly conversations. A little more sass than I would have liked. A few unkind Gripes. Quite a bit of all-out bitching. The weekend was quickly sprialling downwards. The term “Butt-Head” was used way too many times, in all earnestness. (But I apologized to Troy when I calmed down.)
Then it snowed.
And since the windows were all open, we had snow IN the crazy hot little cabin. Look up ‘Sturm und Drang’. You’ll see a picture of us in that moment.
At some point in all of this, I sent my son Garrick outside to play with his new metal detector. I needed him out of the cabin to save his life, you see. Classic Family De-Escalation move. But, blissfully unaware of the fact that his life was in imminent danger, he came running back in, breathlessly excited, eyes dancing, yelling ‘Mom! Mom! You’ve got to see this!!!’, tracking snow and water and mud all over as he did. 49% of me wanted to hightail it to the shower to have another eesy weensy meltdown (see above). But the other 51% of me over-ruled and I followed him out to the van, where, snow falling all around us, he insisted I look at A PARTICULAR SNOWFLAKE on the window of the van.
I was thinking “DOH! I’m out here, freezing, getting wet, pissed off from being shut up in a tiny volcano of a cabin and you want to show me a freaking snowflake!!?” But what I DID was bend down and look at what he was so ferverently pointing to.
There, on the window of the rusty old Dodge Caravan was a picture perfect snowflake. Absolutely perfect. Circular, even, symetrical. Beautiful. And my son, who was in all of this same vacation stress bullcrud I was in, showed me what was important again.
So I kissed him on the top of his head. Agreed that it was all that was wonderful. And went back in to clean soupbowls with bath and body gel.
Life is so freaking weird.