I already know that being home will not be easy. The kids won't have 10 built-in friends (their cousins) to play with daily. I know that the arguments, fighting, bickering will resume status quo. I know there will be more tears (than on our trip) and more whining. But I am OK with all of that.
As I sit at the computer the windows next to me are open. There is a lovely Maine Morning breeze coming through. The air is partly ocean spray and partly fresh pine. The sky is blue and there is only a trace of white in the bluest of skies. Yellow, white and orange lilies line the deck. Evergreens a plenty line the horizon. There is a feeling of tranquility and peace here. My shoulders are relaxed. The headaches are gone. We all seem to be walking a little lighter and laughing a little louder. I will miss this place but we are leaving at the best of all possible times. We are leaving while the party is on. Not roaring. Not in full force. But it has not started to fizzle. For it is never fun to leave after the fun has been had. It is never fun to be the last to leave -- to be left behind.
Last night we went to the amusement park we go to every summer. We always end our vacation with a trip to Funtown. At first it was a little disappointing. The older two have outgrown all the rides they so loved when they were little. While Alexander delighted in them, I could see the sadness in their eyes. It was so joyous to watch Alexander and so melancholy to watch them, the sadness in their eyes. Part of the fun of the amusement park is to watch the kids run to the rides they have loved since they were toddlers. Only now, suddenly, as if in the blink of an eye they have magically grown.
It was sad for me too. It was frustrating with the three children all wanting to go in three different directions, for the older two to be "stuck" watching Alexander ride the rides they so loved and wanted to go on. Yet I could see they were alternately happy for their baby brother. I have been watching them growing and heading in different directions for a couple of years now, but there in there in that amusement park with it's warped, bad 80s music blaring through the old speakers, with it's mix of conscientious college kids and amusement park freaks, that I saw -- as if looking in the warped, distorting mirrors -- just how quickly time flies.
Every year since Rebecca was 18 months old she would ride on (run to!) the zebra on the small Merry Go Round. She did last night to. And as she did she was shouting out to Daddy to take her picture on the horse. And there she was on the zebra, same Rebecca same smile, but the horse suddenly seemed more appropriate in a doll's house. My heart melted a little more. My eyes welled up with a few more tears.
Eventually we made our way out of the children's area so that the older kids could enjoy the park as well. What I was surprised to learn and amazed to see was that Alexander wanted to go on the big rides. Do you have any idea how hard it was telling him that he could NOT go on the big, wooden roller coaster! He saw the large, tilting Pirate Ship and said "Oh.... My.... God!" (I have no idea where he learned that!) And then immediately after demanded to go on it! He loved the bumper boats, cars, Ferris wheel and all the other rides he was allowed to go on because his height is greater than his age! The favorite by far the whip-you-around tea cups!
He woke up this morning asking to go back to Funnytown. I had to explain that we would have to wait until next year. Luckily, he has no idea what next year is. He would be so disappointed if he had any clue how long he really has to wait! He is already talking about all the rides he'll go on.
We had a late night and we are tired. Tired because we have been up late many nights and tired because it has been a long two weeks. But we will leave happy and looking forward to next year.