Ryan, Charlie, and I are back in the land of ninety-five degree afternoons, work, and tempermental U-Scan checkout stations at the grocery store. Ryan walked all the way from somewhere over Virginia to western Arkansas with a very tired but for some reason not sleepy-tired Charlie who, infant style, would only conk out if he was being held by someone who was standing up. The poor guy who was sharing our row with us was trying to study for the bar exam (I recognized his books from this blog friend's site) and I'm sure it wasn't easy with my ever present monologue "Do you want to color? Oooh look! Here are your crayons! What about your book? Do you want to read a book? What do you see out the window? Do you see trucks? Trucks! Do you see airplanes? Airplanes!" Also awkward, that five minute stretch near the end when Charlie stared at him intensely while he tried to read his book.
This morning proved a fitting ending to a trip punctuated by getting hopelessly lost in unfamiliar cities (Briefly, arrived 2.5 hours later than expected at rehersal dinner because of scenic driving tour of the wrong WRONG side of Philadelphia, missed really fun blogger meetup near Boston because of Google Map mix-up which led to me sarcastically calling Ryan "Magellan" as I thrust the email at him after he said "This IS the exit for 128" and I said "We need T-W-E-N-T-Y E-I-G-H-T" and he replied, exasperated, "This IS Exit 28!! Tell me where you want me to go!!", purchase of marriage-saving road atlas, subsequent driving tour of Boston suburbs, promises to God, Allah, Yahweh, whoever was listening, to become a nun if He would please just get. me. out. of. this. freaking. car. already., and then two u-turns this morning when important directional signs mysteriously sprang out from behind trees after it was too late to follow them). Interestingly, the Thrifty Car Rental place "at" Logan Airport is actually about three miles away in the ghetto. And no amount of driving around in circles at the airport will get you there. You have to stop, call, ask for directions, then spend another ten minutes driving around praying that you see a sign for the road that you need. Which we did, thank goodness, and then had no trouble finding the place.
I am also grateful that despite a thorough flashlight inspection of my driver's license, the TSA agent didn't notice that it had expired on June 1st (I also didn't notice until I was almost detained at the Philadelphia airport). I really hope I didn't just get someone in trouble.
Charlie was so very good for our entire trip. He sat nicely at the table during meals and asked nicely for more when he ran out of food. He willingly ate whatever he was given even though a lot of it was unfamiliar. He drank out of regular cups and sat in regular chairs the whole time and didn't spill or throw anything. Even this morning when I got him up at 3:45 so we could make it back to Boston in time for our flight he was calm and happy and even blew kisses at my grandma on the way out the door. I am so proud of him. It was so much fun to have him there and to take him to some of the places that are special to me.
Here are a few pictures.
At the reception after the commitment ceremony. The clown noses were one of the gags we did after the hora. Ironically, this was also the best looking family picture from the trip. Anyone good with Photoshop? Also, all week I kept thinking "This would make a great Christmas card picture!" totally forgetting that one family member is not represented. Oops! No one tell Bravo.
Ryan and Charlie walking down to the water at the beach on Cape Cod. He loved the beach this year, but still didn't like the water because of the waves. Maybe next year he'll be ready for a boogie board and then we'll have to tear him away (kidding, I think, what are 2.5 year olds like?).
My grandpa feeds the ducks and seagulls every morning and evening. Here Charlie is watching in his jammies. He already loved ducks and seeing almost fifty of them fighting over corn right in front of the house was almost more than he could bear.
Charlie with Mrs. Mallard in the Boston Public Garden. Like I said before, he was entranced by these ducks. The ducks were magical for him.
I wish we could have spent a week more in each place because watching Charlie thrive as part of his extended family was a really neat experience. And there were many traditions we didn't get to because of time limitations. I kept trying to work out a way to stay longer but I have a hard travel deadline of August 1st and a dissertation to finish (maybe? hopefully?) and it just wasn't in the cards this year. That is my only regret from this trip (other than missing Dr. Maureen and Jack of course... oh and not buying the road atlas before we even left South). Tons of thanks to all of the M family and all of the grandparents who made us feel so loved and welcomed and showed us such a great time.