Monday, August 25, 2008

River News: Month Sixteen

Dear River,

These past two months have been a little crazy for us. We spent all of July traveling or hosting company, and all of August getting ready to move. I started writing this post weeks ago, but the pile of boxes and endless errands have kept me from my computer. Still, I really want to let you know about your 16th month (so much happened!), so I am plowing ahead and finishing this TODAY.

If all goes as planned, five days from now we will have a new home. We will be sharing pancakes in a new kitchen, snuggling together under a new roof, playing trains on a new floor, and doing it all while wading through a sea of boxes. It's this last part that gives me cold sweats in the middle of the night. I imagine the unsorted, untamed, uncontained jungle that will be our new home, and I want to crawl under something warm and well-organized (a pile of alphabetized kitties? a flaming card catalogue?).

I should probably be much more worried about what the move will do to you. But however much I know this will be a huge transition for you, I'm not too concerned about your ability to adjust to a new space. This past month has shown just how adaptable you can be.

We have spent every weekend of July on the road, and while it wasn't easy per se, you were just such an amazing trooper. From wedding in New Jersey to condo in Vermont to ski resort in the Berkshires to family reunion in Nebraska you (mostly) went with the flow and enjoyed yourself in the moment.

I think our first journey was the hardest on you. The trip to New Jersey for your auntie Ama's wedding was a nightmare. It was the longest drive we'd attempted with you and it was way worse than we had prepared ourselves for. You slept only 30 minutes of the 6 hour trip and needed almost constant entertainment (and lots of breaks to stretch your legs). The next day, at the beautiful outdoor wedding on The Farm in Ringoes, you got overheated and spent most of the event crying in Mommy or Daddy's arms. We put you in the pool (thank goodness for casual affairs!), we found a basement to sit in and nurse, we let you run around nearly naked (you insisted on keeping your shoes on), but nothing could turn that sour mood once you had it.

Still, in the face of difficult circumstances, we celebrated the union of friends, shared time with loved ones, and spent a beautiful evening under big stars and bigger fireworks (only one of them flew into the crowd--no casualties, and they finished the show!).

Your auntie Jenn flew out from California for the wedding and spent the rest of the week with us in Cambridge. You held it pretty close and didn't warm up to her much. She insists you're missing out on a great opportunity to be spoiled and fawned over, and I have to agree. It may take a while, but I think the day will come when you appreciate having a cool auntie who will get you hopped up on pixie sticks and take you to the arcade. Take advantage, my boy, because with mommy you're much more likely to get a wheat germ high and and a trip to the library.

After Auntie Jenn went home, you and I drove to Killington, Vermont to spend some time with Oma and Opa at their vacation condo. It was a much better drive this time around, and we had all kinds of fun adventures in the countryside. Your favorite, by far, was taking a ride on the gondola at Killington Peak. You didn't care about the hike to the top of the mountain afterword or the amazing view of five states from the peak, you only wanted to watch the gondolas swing up, around, and down. Once we were back at the foot of the mountain, you sat there next to Oma with rapped attention while the gondolas did their lazy turns, until, finally, they closed the machine down. I'm trying to figure out some way to get you your own personal gondola--not only because it's so much fun to say, but because I think you might explode from pure joy.

The next weekend your dad joined us on a trip to the Berkshires where Oma and Opa had another vacation spot reserved at a ski resort near Lanesboro, Massachusetts. This trip was marked by brushes with fame. On the drive out, we went to the Eric Carle Museum (author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar) and learned that the man himself would be there for a signing the following day. Librarian and superb grandma that she is, Oma Julie woke before six the next day to make the 1 1/2 hour drive back to the museum and stand in line with throngs of fans to get books signed for you and Finn.

The following night we drove to Tanglewood to hear John Williams conduct the Boston Pops in a night of movie music. Williams has scored countless films (including Indian Jones and all but one of Steven Spielberg's movies). The evening started with a torrential downpour and a picnic in the car, but by the time the musicians were tuning their strings, the skies had cleared and we'd found ourselves a nice spot on the grass. We were all surprised when Kate Capshaw came out to sing after the intermission. But when she was followed on stage by Steven Spielberg, who MCed the rest of the evening, we were all pinching ourselves (well, the grown-ups were; you were asleep). It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and though you were pretty unimpressed at the time, years from now I know we'll tell stories about the time you slept through a live appearance by Steven Spielberg.

I know all the travel wasn't easy on you--you were fussier and clingier than I have seen you in a long time--but it also provided some really amazing opportunities for you. You were so lucky to spend time with your grandparents, to see mountains and farms, museums and playgrounds, adorable towns and historical ones. You jumped and ran and climbed; you ate amazing food and touched sweet animals and played with new toys; you laughed and cried and snuggled and hugged.

In years to come, you may not remember any of these experiences, but I hope you will read this and know that you have had a truly blessed childhood from the start. You are surrounded by so much love, and that at least, will never change.

To the moon and back,

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