Okay, I promise this will be my last holiday-related post. After this I’ll get my head together and start focusing on life in not-so-sunny Scotland again. But our ten days away were too full of good moments not to share at least some of them. This also serves as my ‘Live In the Now’ post for July, because it captures so many details that I don’t want to forget.
Well, the travel itself wasn’t exactly awesome. In fact, I dedicated an entire post to how much I dislike flying. But what I loved was discovering what an amazingly good traveller DorkySon is; five planes, three taxis, three buses, two cars, one train… and not a single toddler meltdown. I would love to say that it was our thorough preparation that led to the smooth journey, but in fact we’re just incredibly lucky to have a mellow two year old, who barely seemed to notice the delays and queues. He slept on almost every aeroplane, attacked the inflight meals with gusto, and beamed at the cabin crew every time they passed our seat. He was thrilled by the taxi rides, excited by the bus journeys between terminals, and is still talking about his ‘special seat’ in the hire car. Whereas DorkyDad and I usually ended up crumpled, tired and crabby, DorkySon emerged from every journey with a smile on his face and ready for the next adventure. I don’t know how he did it, but he’s a champ.
Oh my, the food. Every time I’ve been to North America I’ve come back at least half a stone heavier, and this time was no exception. We set the tone when we had Krispy Kreme donuts for breakfast at Heathrow. Then every morning at Uncle P’s we had pancakes and bacon with maple syrup, and either chocolate milk or freshly brewed coffee. We had honey glazed chicken wings at Cuda’s, steak tacos ever at Chorizo, and enchiladas at Taco Bell. Aunt A – for whom I have a whole new level of love and respect after seeing her in the kitchen– made mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, and amazing key lime pie. All that and we hadn’t even made it to New England yet! Ahh, New England, land of lobster rolls, curried mussels, steamed oysters, and our friend Meegan’s beautiful shrimp and lemon pasta. We ate our last lunch at Pocos; sitting in the sun, listening to the sea, accompanied by a Margarita. It was awesome… but my thighs are very grateful that we only go once a year.
DorkyDad and I are fairly antisocial types by nature, but this break reminded us how important it is to spend time with good friends; how your soul can be warmed and your heart filled back up after ten minutes in the right company. Over and above our own fun times – sitting on a sunny deck in the evening, sipping wine, chatting and laughing – we got so much pleasure from seeing DorkySon meet our friends for the first time, and feel at ease with them even more quickly than we had hoped. He almost had too much fun; laying on the floor listening as Sal, his Godfather, played the piano; sticking his head around the kitchen door to play giggly games of peek-a-boo with Meegan; and lapping up the attention of Sal and Meegan’s two sons, who were keen to share their trucks, show off their favourite playgrounds, and teach him how to catch crabs off the dock. DorkySon blew countless kisses at our dear, sweet friend Nels, before stealing most of the bacon from his plate at breakfast. He had to be dragged away from the earthy delights at Amy and Andrew’s farm, but our family photo album is much improved by the new pictures of him sitting on a tractor, saying hey to the horses and goats, and eating strawberries that he’d picked himself.
My poor Canadian family. Most of them had only met me once before, and I think had formed a vision of me as a quiet and fairly shy person. After our third night in Toronto, when I drank all their wine and ranted about politics for a couple of hours before crying at the injustice of the world and stumbling into bed, I think they may have had to adjust their thinking slightly. But thank goodness for DorkySon – his sunny presence makes it easier for everyone to overlook my mistakes. How happy he was to sit with his cousins; reading books, building towers and lining up cars. How thrilled he was with the green dump truck that Aunt D and Uncle P brought for him, and how proud he was to make everyone laugh with his early morning renditions of Old MacDonald. How brave he was, creeping up to the glass door and blowing kisses at the family pets Gennie and Bella; two Swiss Mountain Dogs that towered over him by several feet. His way of letting people know that they had passed the DorkySon test – that he was entirely comfortable in their company – was to give them one of his stickers. He would sidle up to me, and whisper in my ear “Want to give Cousin J a cat sticker” or “Want to give Uncle P a truck sticker”. He would peel a sticker carefully off the sheet, and go running up to his chosen relative with it held out on the end of his grubby wee finger. They became highly coveted items in the Dorky household… but by the end of the holiday everyone had got one. The connection was complete. Now, more than ever, we understand how important it is for DorkySon to know his North American family as well as his Scottish one, and we hope to be back soon.