Wednesday, September 9, 2009

What I did on my summer vacation

Is it possible that summer is really over? All the signs are here – shorter days, school buses and a chill in the evening air. Even so, it seems remarkable that summer has – once again – slipped away so quickly. It seems that the passing of time is picking up speed with each successive season… and if I reflect on all that occurred during our summer of 2009, it’s really no wonder…

Liam went from a kid who clung to the steps of the pool with fear in his eyes to a confident and proud little fella who passed his deep water test. The highlight of his summer was repeatedly hopping off the diving board and swishing down the water slide to the enthusiastic applause of three generations of family supporters – me and Des, my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. He was so excited by his accomplishments that he requested a “celebration” complete with a “cake and band on the front porch” – gotta love the way this kid thinks!

Ciara went from a “baby” in diapers to a “big girl” who boastfully starts most mornings by proclaiming that she is “totally dry Mama! Totally dry.” This new “big girl” is our very own fun and fearless female. She’s the life of any party, often still singing in her bed as we’re tucking in for the night. She approaches pools, beaches, parks and virtually any social setting with fearless abandon and, despite four brothers and a block full of boys, she’s girly to the core and happily flaunted her first ever manicure courtesy of Aunt Pat.

As for the triplets, well, what can I say? The quiet, still, bottle loving babes that were the Kevin, Declan and Cormac I knew back in May have been replaced by a trio of babbling, crawling, finger food loving little guys. They are, in the best possible way, like a little pack of puppies – gleefully rolling over each other, taking each other’s toys, eating each other’s food (and, if they get their way, mine too!), following me around, trying to climb up stairs, pressing their little noses against the doors and screens, and eventually, just crashing into a deep sleep from the never-ending activity. And, much like puppies, they are, frankly, just adorable. They are big, happy, roly poly boys who turn each and every day into our own private Romper Room.

As for me, well, as I reflect on the summer, there are first the startling statistics regarding the amount of formula and Cheerios consumed, diapers changed, barf cleaned up, laundry done, bags packed and unpacked, lists made and tasks completed. This is often my default – the quantifiable list of to-do’s that are now done. But, far more importantly, when I think of Summer 2009, I’ve actually had a LOT of fun. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and secretly marveled that we pulled off an impressive number of fun family adventures in the short time that spans from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

We went to Cape Cod, the place that rejuvenates our senses and refreshes our souls. Twice! We visited friends at a lake in Connecticut, spent weekends with family at the Jersey Shore and East Hampton, stayed with pals in Fairfield and Boston, and spent quality time with my parents and grandparents. And, we did all of this on our own, with five kids under five dragged along for the ride. We did it as people repeatedly remarked “Wow! Don’t you have your hands full!” and “Oh dear, I hope you have some help.”

With the summer behind us and a new school year ahead, I am happy to say that yes, we do have our hands full and, thanks to our amazing friends and family, yes, we do have help! I am also happy when I think back to a conversation Des and I had last year – when we drove to Cape Cod in June 2008. I was about five months pregnant with the triplets and our future was uncertain at best. I optimistically noted that, while it might be years before we returned to the Cape for a summer vacation, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel – I could see a day, perhaps five years in the future, that we were driving a mini-van full of cute kids north on 95 for our annual summer getaway.

Well, it didn’t take five years, it only took one. Once again, proving the power of positive thinking and, of course, the fact that time really does fly by!

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