Posts Tagged ‘Marblehead’

I’m not one of those Moms that counts the days until school starts again. I love summer. I love everything about it. I love beach days and sandy toes. I love summer corn and tomatoes and the relegation of Husband to the grill at nearly every dinnertime. I love slathering my children in sunblock and watching the gradual progression of their skin to a golden brown and their hair a golden blonde. I love flip-flops and pedicures people can actually see. Despite my unmatched modesty when it comes to my body, I love short sleeves (aside: hate when people say they’re in “shirt sleeves”) and cute summer skirts and colorful beach cover-ups.  I love open windows and ceiling fans and blooming hydrangea.  I don’t even complain (much) when it’s 90 degrees and humid and there’s sweat dripping down my back.  Because once summer’s gone, there’s fall.  And fall is a perfectly wonderful time of year (especially in New England) except for people like me.  Because I manage to ruin fall by spending most of it dreading the fact that winter (g-damn winter) is next.  And winter sucks.

Yesterday, Husband and I packed up the boys bright and early and headed north to Crane Beach in Ipswich.

Despite the fact that we live in a town littered with beaches, it seemed a fitting trip to round out our summer.   We arrived by 9 am (1/2 hour past low tide) and were awed by the expanse of Crane Beach (I hadn’t been since high school).   There were tide pools and piping plovers and no more  than 100 others on the beach (although it was mobbed by the time we left).  Husband, who can’t sit still on the beach for more than 5 minutes at a time, dropped the gear and then took off with the kids to explore and build and romp and splash and left me alone.  With my beach chair.  And my Kindle.  And my happy, happy self.

Ah.  Summer.

On the way home we stopped at a local farm stand where I picked up some fresh basil (the best), mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes so ripe and red that I wanted to bite into them on the spot.   I dug through piles of local corn for three perfect ears and snagged two crisp apples for the boys in hopes that munching and crunching would stave off the sleep that tugged at their sandy, sun-soaked selves.


Next week, school begins.  Big Brother heads off to Kindergarten, which is simply not possible.  Little Brother will go to pre-school three mornings a week leaving Mom alone to…to what?

Miss them.

Fill out countless back-to-school forms.

Hit the treadmill.

Consider my next move.

Wish it was summer all over again.


p.s.  I’m running in a 5K in two weeks.  Which is sort of laughable but whatever.  I’m doing it.   I have every confidence that I’ll finish.  I’m just hoping that when the standings come out in our local papers that my name doesn’t show up dead last.  Which is entirely possible in this land of skinny-mini’s…and me.   Wish me luck.  I will, no doubt, need it.

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My Husband grew up in Connecticut.  In the “closer to NY” part of Connecticut, not the “Red Sox Nation” part of Connecticut.   He’s a Yankees fan.  A big Yankees fan.  But, he’s a baseball fan in the larger sense as well, so while he knows and loves the Yankees more than other teams, he could probably give you the line up of many other teams in the league and certainly provide details on any other team in the Yankees division.   But, usually, he’s reasonable about it.  He can have an intelligent conversation with any good fan of another team in which he will happily discuss the merits and troubles of each other’s teams without animosity.  Simply, as fellow sports fans.

When our sons were born, I know that Husband looked forward to teaching them his beloved game.  Teaching them how to throw and hit and be good sports.  And, raising them to love the Yankees.  And, they do.   They wear #2 t-shirts with pride.  Big Brother knows all the ridiculous monikers shouted out after a home run by radio-guy John Sterling.  An A-bomb!  From A-rod!

But, it hasn’t been an easy path for Husband.   We live just north of Boston in what is clearly Red Sox territory.  When we lived here five years ago, before the Red Sox had won a World Series, Husband couldn’t wear his Yankees hat in public without having people make snide remarks as he walked by.  He’d grit his teeth and smile as a bartender made a crack about not wanting to serve him.  Our town Little League actually had to get rid of the “Yankees” name for one of the teams because 6 and 7-year-old kids were getting booed at the town parade.  Pretty childish behavior by Sox fans, of course.  But, maybe (maybe) a little understandable as the Sox had been thwarted by the Yankees countless times.  And, it hurt.

When we moved back here about a year and a half ago, the Red Sox had won not just one but two championships.   And, for the most part, it changed people around here.  Sure, Husband will still get the occasional comment but it’s nothing like it used to be.   The hat gets worn again, the boys wear their shirts and things are fine.  Mostly, people keep opinions to themselves.   I mean, it’s not like they’re wearing anti-Red Sox things, right?

And, it’s not like someone would verbally assault a child, with their anti-Yankees rage.  Right?


I’ve written before about how Little Brother and I take a twice-weekly pilgrimage to Dunkin’ Donuts after Big Brother is dropped at school.   Today, LB was wearing his Yankees sweatshirt.

He was also wearing light blue shorts and carrying a little plastic light-up cow on a key chain.  He was wearing his tiny Crocs with Tigger and Pooh Jibbitz on the toes.   He was clutching my hand because, although I would have carried him, he wanted to walk in on his own.   “I do it, Mommy.”

We were trying to work our way through the double doors.  Walking and weaving our way through bustling 8:45 am DD traffic.  Trying to politely hold open the first set of doors for an older woman before we made our way through the second set of doors.

That’s when we saw her.  She was behind that second set of doors.  She looked like she was about to charge out, which could have resulted in Little Brother getting clobbered by the swinging door before him.   I quickly pulled him back.   But, she stopped, looked at us and waited on the other side of the door.  I smiled gratefully through the glass.

Then she said, as we opened and began to walk through the door…

“I wouldn’t have hit him.  At least, I wouldn’t have hit him until I saw that Yankees sweatshirt.”


What?!  Did you seriously just say that?  You reconsidered hitting him?  He’s TWO, you ignorant moron.

I wish I’d said it.  Said something at least.

Because it’s one thing to act like a brainless, bitter idiot when you’re dealing with my Husband.

But, my kids?!    So. not. funny.

I’m still seething.

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I know this might make us sound like kind of bad parents but we’ve learned that Big Brother is highly motivated by money. He loves it. Offer him a penny and he’ll fetch you a cold beverage. Offer him a nickel and he’ll sing a song…loudly, in public. Offer him a quarter and, as witnessed this weekend, he’ll wade out in bone-chillingly cold ocean water to retrieve Little Brother’s beloved rubber ball.  And, if said quarter is a commemorative state quarter?  Holy cow.  Oh, I shudder to think of what he’d do.

Big Brother also has a list of daily chores for which he receives stickers. At the end of the week, his allowance is based on how many stickers he’s accumulated.  And all this has been going on for quite a long time.  He does his chores (or some random challenge) collects his booty, and then hustles to his room to squirrel it away in his piggy bank.

Piggy’s gotten too fat a few times over the years forcing us to cash in some coins for bills to make more room.  We knew Big Brother had a decent collection going but had no idea, really, what the cumulative totals were.   All we knew was that Big Brother loved Piggy.  And all that Piggy represented.  For example, when I’m asked for the nine millionth time to take them out to lunch (or buy the new Bakugan or go to the car wash even though it’s raining outside), and I respond by saying, “No.  We aren’t made of money, you know?”, Big Brother remembers Piggy.  He contemplates, pausing for a moment, and then says “It’s ok, Mommy.  I’ll pay.”


So, you can imagine my surprise when he came to us and asked if he could open his own bank account.   We had no idea that our weekly trip to the bank was anything more to Big Brother than an opportunity to score lollipops.   He told us he wanted to save his money somewhere “super safe” and that he was really hopeful they might give him his very own “secret code” to get his money when he needed it.

Husband and I thought it was a great idea but weren’t so sure how to execute it with the gigantic corporate beast where we do our banking.  So, the next morning I called our local branch to make an appointment.  Unsure of the reaction I’d get (certainly, a five-year old and his piggy bank isn’t top on their list of clients), I was delighted when they walked me through how it would all work and made us an appointment.

Big Brother was thrilled.   And, quickly got to work shaking out the piggy.

So, I gathered up the money for him, we grabbed his social security card and off we went.    To do some banking.

Ready or not.  Here we come.

We sat right down with our representative who welcomed Big Brother, had him tell her his birthday and spell his name.  She asked him to provide his address and his signature.  He took it all very seriously.

You won’t get anymore shots of Big Brother from inside the bank, though.  See, turns out they have some crazy rules against taking pictures and had no qualms telling me to PUT THAT THING AWAY RIGHT NOW.

Sheesh.  How paranoid can you be.   Haha.

But, despite his crazy, camera-happy mother, they patiently got Big Brother all set up ($101!), gave him a little bank book with their sincere congratulations and sent a very proud little boy on his way.

So, thank you, to the staff of Giant Corporate Bank in Marblehead.  Thank you for acting like a small, local bank even though I know you are, in fact, a humongous financial monster.  Thank you for making last Friday a very special day for Big Brother.  He checks his account balance daily and feels like a very big kid.

Oh, and thank you, in advance, for not sending the police to my door because I posted a photo taken from inside your bank on my blog.  I photo-shopped the heck out of it to remove any possible issues.  Swear.

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Husband and I got a sitter on Saturday night and decided to go out for a pre-Mother’s Day dinner.   So, after going through the regular exchange:

Me:  Where should we go?

He:  I don’t know.  You pick.

How about x?

Nah.  Too dark.

How about y?

Tables are too close together.

How about z?

Annoying bartenders.

How about you pick?

There’s a storied spot here in Marblehead.   It’s both a bar and restaurant but it’s always been known for “wicked stiff drinks”.  I hadn’t darkened the door of the place since my bachelorette party (Don’t remind me…is that tequila I taste?)  when the food part of the building was really just considered a nice tack-on in case you actually wanted to have something in your stomach and, therefore, a better chance of actually leaving the bar standing upright.   But, we’d been hearing a lot of reports lately that they had a new chef and the food was good.   So, we decided to check it out and off we went.

We enjoyed some grown-up bar drinks (in pint glasses) at the bar downstairs, chatted with a great bartender, then headed up to the restaurant.  Sat at a high-top table, liked the looks of the menu, liked our server, liked the atmosphere.  Right up our alley, really.

And then…he arrived.

Jimmy.  Or Mickey.  Or Sully, perhaps.  Something like that, undoubtedly.

Whoever he was, he was the quintessential loudmouth.  Sitting with two other guys at the bar but his Boston-accent-laden side of the conversation was the only one anyone heard.  And it sounded something like this:

Did you see that f*ckin’ pitch? (pause so someone else could speak…briefly)   Oh, yeah, he got f*ckin’ crushed. (pause)  No f*ckin’ way that was a f*ckin’ out!  That guy needs f*ckin’ glasses.  Blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah, blah, blah, f*ckin’, blah.

Grrrr.   It certainly didn’t ruin our meal but it was annoying and rude and I wish his knucklehead friends had just told him to pipe down.  But, they didn’t.  And on he went.

Husband often tells me I have “rabbit ears”.   That I basically choose to listen to annoying things that others could simply tune out.  For example, I can’t stop myself from listening intently to someone enjoying his gum a little too enthusiastically.  Or someone tapping a pen on a desk.  Or lightly snoring.  Or eating something while on the phone with me (“hey, you want to just call me back when you’re finished?”).

Or dropping the F-bomb loudly and repeatedly at a restaurant.  I mean, come on.

Yesterday, I was reading the blog of a woman whose posts I follow regularly.  She had gone to dinner with her sister and her sister’s new baby and, after the baby had spent some time fussing, a man seated nearby felt compelled to make a comment to them.  And, he wasn’t exactly delicate with his opinions of a crying baby in a restaurant.  It escalated.  I believe they finished their meal but the night was ruined for them.   She was more than a little irritated with the man’s gumption.

But, I had to admit that I sort of sided with the grumpy man in the restaurant.  I feel strongly that, when in a public place where a semblance of decorum is expected (like restaurants, retail stores, etc), it’s a parent’s responsibility to be aware and considerate of the people around them.  And to not allow your child to disrupt someone else’s evening.  Granted, some whining, some crying, some volume — all expected.  Kids are kids.  Kids are allowed at restaurants and allowed at retail stores.  Certainly.  Give ’em a chance.  But, if it gets to the point where the child is overtaking the atmosphere of the restaurant…it’s time to go.  Call it a night.  Get ’em out of there.  Run, Forrest, Run.  Your server and  your fellow patrons will thank you for it.   I know I would.

I’m sure many will disagree.   Like I said, just my opinion.

Anyway, this leads me back to that trash-mouth man in the restaurant Saturday night.  Sure, it wasn’t like we were dining at Le Cirque.  Of course, he had every right to be there enjoying himself with his buddies.  And, frankly, he probably spends a lot more money and certainly a lot more time at that establishment that I do.   It’s probably a heck of a lot more “his place” than mine.  But you know what I wish?

I wish his mother was there.  I wish she was there to hear his language.  That she was there to shush him politely a few times.  Then, to speak a little more sternly, maybe even firmly grabbing his forearm.   Then, that she was there to look him square in the eyes and say  “Stop it now.  I mean it.

And then, when he went on and on and on…?

I wish she’d been there to receive my high-five as she dragged him out by his ear.

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Since Husband is more than a little convinced that if I blog about going away for a few days, we will return to a house stripped for parts like an old Chevy, I wouldn’t normally tell you this.  But, because he’s not joining us and would therefore greet you with at the door with a Louisville Slugger, I’ll let you in on that fact that I’m packing up the kids and the dog today and heading north to my beautiful hometown of Dorset, Vermont for a few days.

And, I can’t wait.   The boys (lazy yellow labrador included) and I are heading up for a few days filled with tromping through backyard fields, walking the golf course with the dogs, hiking child-sized trails and enjoying the company of beloved Marnie, Jeff and (the anti-lazy yellow Labrador) Daschiel.

Like in Marblehead, they’ve had a boatload of rain over the last month or so.  Which means the Green Mountains will be Ireland-green.  The flowers will be up, the trees blooming and, while I’ll miss the whiff of ocean in my own town, I’ll smile as my children and I breathe deep the smell of fresh cut grass, fresh cut FRESH, fresh cut CLEAN.   Ahhhhh.   Do you know that smell?  If you don’t, go find it.

Between us and Vermont, however, remains the chore of packing endless bags of sh*t needed to sustain two young boys, a dog and me for five days.   While my Mom kindly stocked the fridge of essentials for us, I need to get off this computer and get moving on packing the clothes, shoes, favorite blankets, favorites lovies (Baaah and Bunny), diapers, wipes, Kandoo, kibble, games, DVD player, kid CDs, Zhu Zhus, car snacks, juice boxes and booster seats.   Then I will stuff whatever I can into giant black garbage bags (classy, no?) before throwing them into the new car.  Because the big, hairy dog will be with us (bye, bye new car smell) and I could knit a sweater with the hair he will shed through the trip.


But, we will arrive.  And breathe.  And play.  And love.  And be loved.

I used to drive home from college in my Hyundai (seriously), without a darn care in the world, and play this song over and over on my 8-track cassette player.   Of course, I know it’s about West Virginia and not Vermont but it still makes me think about going home.

So, here you go.  Take me home, John.

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There’s a magical book out there called Bear of My Heart, by Joanne Ryder.   I’ve read it to Big Brother since he was a very little boy and we like to think of it as our own special story.  I read it to him with tears welling up in my eyes and take deep breaths to absorb the sobs that creep from the back of my throat.   It’s beautiful and I hereby recommend it to any of you out there with small cubs in the house.

However, reading it today – on my Husband’s birthday – I’m struck by how easily it translates to a story about marriage.  True love.  Partnership.

“Paw in paw, we will greet every morning,

Paw in paw, we will meet every day

For you are the bear of my heart, dear

And nothing can take that away.”

Paw in paw.  Hand in hand.   I’m so grateful for all that he’s given to me (to us) in the giving of his hand.

In marriage

A first dance

In Romance

In Unabashed Fatherly Love

With a Generous Heart

With a Steadying Touch

Offering Little Life Lessons

And reassurance that the next step, however unfamiliar, is safe.  Because he’s there.  He’s with us.

“There are so many bears in the world dear,

but there’s no other one that will do.

You are the bear of my heart, dear,

and I am the one who loves you.”

Happy Birthday, to my Husband.    Thank you for (more than seven years ago) asking for my hand.  And for, since then, holding us all so tightly in yours.

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I love the park.  In fact, our house (in a town of nearly 21,000 people in about 4 1/2 square miles) backs right up to one of the largest parks in town.  It’s got a wonderful age-appropriate playground no more than 100 yards from our back deck.  And, we bought this house (in a land of postage stamp yards) in large part because of that park.   But, you know what’s driving me nuts?

The swings.

Because we head to the park all geared up for the guys to run around and play and exercise and slide and romp and chase and tag and work out all that little boy energy.  And we get there and you know what they want to do?  Swing.  And swing.  And swing some more.

And you know who’s getting all the exercise when they swing?   Me.


So, lately I’ve resorted to actually telling them that I’ll take them to the park on the one condition that there will absolutely be no swinging.

I am such an awesome Mom.   No?

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There are certainly times, like last week, when I can do a lot of complaining and feel fully justified in doing so.  And then there are days like today.  Sunny, mid 50s and spring is in the air in this beautiful New England seaside town.  So, I spent the morning at the beach with my little family (even the dog).   Searching for Periwinkles.  Splashing along the shore line.  Hearing them call out in high-pitched voices as they discover something new.  Breathing in the ocean air and thinking…wow.  Thank you…

For curiosity
For carefree splashing
For tiny hands…and frog boots
For this foolish but good-hearted dog
For the way he loves them.   The way he loves us.

For all of it.  Thank you.

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Who’d you think I was talking to?

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Grocery shopping
Rock throwing
Life’s alright…

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