There was really only one problem with this week’s trip to Michigan, and that is the fact that we had to leave today. The boys were bawling first thing this morning when they woke up, desperately sad that it was our last day. It is a small consolation that we’ll be back again next year. And, really, who wouldn’t be devastated to leave a place where you can play hide n’ seek with your cousins and brother for a full hour, devising new rules such as having to kiss and hug each other every time someone is found?
We managed to squeeze some last bits of fun in before hitting the road; we headed back to St. Joseph to wander the small downtown, take the boys to the bookstore, eat lunch, buy them a huge cookie to share from the farmer’s market, and then run around at the playground at Silver Beach for a while. It was hard to drag ourselves away from scenes like this and this.
The mood in the car heading away from our vacation was quite far removed from the one shared on the way there. This dawned on me when I realized that I hadn’t packed any books or magazines for myself in the front seat (on the way to Michigan I read a New Yorker magazine cover to cover and started a new novel, already in relaxation mode), nor had I checked to see if I had the correct adapter to run groovy tunes from my iPhone through the car stereo. With three bikes on the back of our station wagon, there was no getting into the back of the car.
Lyle didn’t nap at all on this car trip either, but rather than exclaiming things like, “I CAN’T WAIT TO GET TO MICHIGAN!!!” over and over again, he screamed things like, “MY BUTT IS ITCHY AND I CAN’T REACH TO SCRATCH IT!!!!” (among other things) which eventually resulted in Matt having to pull over in the hellishly ugly industrial wasteland of Gary, Indiana to actually get the kid out of the car and, yes, take care of that itch. A guy even stopped to hit Matt up for change in the midst of this classy moment. Let’s face it – vacation was O.V.E.R.
It did occur to me, however, as we drove into our own fair city a short while later, that summer was in full swing here at home. The warm sun was shining, the beaches were packed, the Taste of Chicago was going on in Grant Park, and Chicagoans didn’t seem to have the slightest idea that we were an
itchy gloomy little bunch. I decided at that moment that when we got home and gave Lyle a chance to nap for a little while, we were going to the beach. Why mope around at home when the good times could keep on rollin’?
And so we did. We headed down our block, hung out with some neighbors, ate a picnic consisting of whatever we had left in the house when we went out of town, and played together as a foursome in the sand until the sun went down over the houses. Matt ran across the street to the 7-11 for milk so that we wouldn’t have to hit the grocery store until tomorrow, and we had a great evening.
When it comes down to it, real life is not half bad. Not at all. Even
Itchy and Scratchy the boys agreed.