When we first moved to Maryland in 2002, we bought a townhouse. It wasn’t long before we realized that location is everything…and we didn’t have it. Yes, we had a fixer-upper with great bones in a neighborhood with a great neighborhood association, a pool, walking paths, playgrounds, a huge area of greenspace just on the other side of our teeny-tiny back yard, big trees, relatively close parking, and so much more. But we also lived next door to drug dealer; on the other side of us was a guy who took mysterious trips often – we called him “The Spy”, and two doors down lived the party-ers who frequently (and by frequently I do mean every Friday and Saturday night and sometimes Thursdays and Sundays too) woke us (and the rest of our row of houses) up around 3am with their loud music and drunken yelling.
Ah, nothing like a peaceful home when you are starting your family! Those were some fun times, I tell ya!
But after a year or maybe two, the party-ers needed more space and decided to move on. A really, really cool thing happened: a really nice, normal couple moved in! J and K were so sweet, made really great neighbors, and they went to our church. K even helped with the MOPS program that I was a part of – wohoo! They were the kind of neighbors that you wanted to have over for dinner and get to know…so we did. They were even the kind of neighbors that let us store all of our miscellaneous junk in their basement when we had to put our townhouse on the market! We were sad to say good-bye to them.
Why, you ask, am I telling you about our neighbors from Maryland when we were on vacation in Texas? Well, funny you should ask! I’ll tell you: J & K and their two sweet little’uns have moved to Texas, right where we were staying! And they said they would meet us for breakfast.
So instead of duking it out for the last bagels at the hotel breakfast bar, we headed to a great little restaurant and had a terrific breakfast. I had a Belgian waffle with some of the best fruit sauce that I have ever tasted! Mmmmm… And we had great conversation too – so fun to catch up with “old” friends!
Once our children were all sufficiently sticky and our bellies full, we all waddled out to our cars and said our sad good-byes. Booo…sniff, sniff…
But not for too long because we had other friends (G and S) to meet, and we were meeting them at Sea World! WoHoo! This was going to be one fun day; I just knew the kids would have a blast, and the friends we were meeting there would be so much fun. They are the types of friends that though you haven’t lived in the same place for six years, you can just pick right up where you left off and have both deep conversation and tons o’ fun, the kind of friends that you would take on a skiing vacation with you when you both have tiny babies – and you would take turns watching babies and skiing, the kinds of friends that just seem to be headed in the same crazy direction in life is so very many ways.
We thought we had a little bit of extra time, so we drove by our old house. Looks well taken care of – yay!
Then we gave our life savings to park at Sea World and found us a good spot. I called S and told her we’d be in in just a bit. We whipped out the spray sunscreen and started the long process of protecting our four children from the big, bad sun. I sprayed down Bubba last, and was ready to run to the gates…right about the time that Bubba shared her breakfast with the Sea World parking lot. All I could think was, “Uh, where’s the rewind button! That couldn’t have just happened!”
We hoped that she had just been a bit car-sick, so we proceeded to the gates, purchased the necessary ticket (four of ours were free thanks to Hero Salute), and met up with our friends.
And this is where I nominate myself for the Mother of the Year Award. Dear Bubba threw up at least three more times before we were out of that dumb park an hour or so later. It was horrible. I even carried her fifty-something pound self out of the park. I still don’t know what was wrong, but the minute we got her in the van to leave, she was fine. She fell asleep on the way back to the hotel, then stayed awake all afternoon only to be famished at dinner time and play the rest of the evening like nothing had ever happened. No kidding.
And that, my friends, was a blessed thing, since we were headed to the beach the very next day!