It was too hot for poetry.
The midday sun in Texas is scorching. It’s as if a thousand angry hands are pushing you down, reflecting off the burning asphalt and returning to pull you towards the earth. Your whole body feels heavy. The short walk from our car into a grocery store one afternoon leaves me feeling used up, depleted. Any thoughts I ever harbored about the possibility of living in Texas fly away as I remember the cool midwestern breeze that blows in the afternoons. I could never live in a place where I couldn’t take my children outside in the afternoon to let them run off all that excess energy they harbor.
In the late afternoons though, the hot sun touches my bronzed shoulders as we laze in the pool, our bodies distorted by the ripples on the surface of the water. I relax into the two pool noodles supporting my back, my legs held up by the noodle under my thighs and turn my face to the light. This is heaven.
In the two weeks we were in Texas, Casey became an independent, confident little fish in the water. Using a round yellow float with ducks on it, his “floaty thing”, he jumps from the top step of the pool stairway and kicks his way over to whoever is waiting. Such a huge change from the first day we got here when he had to be held the whole time we were in the water. It didn’t take long- testing the water (literally) each day as he tried something new, slowly letting go of our hands, determining that he could hold himself up and return to ‘home base’, aka the steps, when he needed to. Soon he was on his own, requesting his squirt guns and letting us know when they were “out of juice” so the epic squirt gun battles could come to a halt while we reloaded.
Taking vacations with a two year old, the very meaning of the word “vacation” changes. No longer are the afternoons spent laying around relaxing, reading a book, taking naps and enjoying time doing nothing (though we certainly fit that in). There is another person now, someone who must be entertained and taken care of. He does not understand yet that a vacation should be that different from daily life. There is the difficulty of adapting to a different time zone, getting used to new rhythms and finding that balance that allows you to relax and enjoy a vacation while simultaneously continuing to be a full time parent. But it also means watching your child explore and thrive in a new environment. Seeing the look on their faces when they see something new for the first time and discover that the world is so much bigger then what they previously imagined.
Our two weeks in Texas was the longest vacation we have been able to take as a family since Casey was born and it was fantastic. It was a much needed break from our daily routine and a wonderful way to spend some time as a family of three before we welcome our second boy into this world and discover life anew as a family of four.