My big little family just returned from vacation. We were gone for a few weeks, and it always shocks me how those weeks feel like they go by so incredibly superquick. Anson, Roan, Smitty, Shep and I were able to get in time with both the Nelson side of our family and the Call side. It was relaxed and funny, and gave me many stories to tell: most of which I will not write about because it became clear to me that both sides of the family know about this site. Shocking. I thought Pistols was under the radar with my kin. Not so. But rather than it being alarming, I find it totally flattering that my people take the time to check in with me. So, to my people: thanks. And also: I like you the best out of everyone. (Yes you. You are my favorite in-law/parent/sibling/niece/nephew. I mean it. Don’t tell anyone else.)

Aside from the absolutely puzzling fact that the town we were in had no less than seventeen milkshake/hamburger stands and not even one grocery store, it was an idyllic spot. There wasn’t much to do in the way of pre-fab entertainment, which was a treat for me. Roan, Kellene and I went on bike rides up and down the empty streets. I took the kids on rides on an old scooter that topped out at 30 mph, but they thought it was thrilling. There was a boat and a water-floatation-thing that could be pulled by said boat which provided hours of huge smiles, dare-devil antics, two concussions (one was mine but I secretly think it made me a little bit smarter), and one flying child (Roan) flipping into the air then plummeting into the water, gasping for air while screaming, “I’m OK that was AWESOME”.

Then there was this:

Somehow Roan decided he needed to do something called “Mutton Bustin'” and I gave him permission? I mean, ok ok ok I know I sound like I’m into it on this video but really? Riding a sheep? With nothing to hold on to? When you’re from Brooklyn? And the announcer has to be corrected as to your gender? It was my first time at a rodeo and right when we got there, a rider was bucked off a bull and then stepped on by that same bull. I had visions of a rabid sheep going after my son and I was totally scared but Roan was cool as could be. I made him wear a helmet, that was all my mother-powers were capable of. In the end, I couldn’t have been more proud and have now resolved to get him sheep riding lessons so he can trounce all those local know-it-all-kids next year. Oh….really….riding the sheep backwards helps a child’s grip….? Bring it.

There were moments in every day where I had to shake my head and get some of the cuteness off of me. It was overload. There was this instance, when Smitty fell asleep on Roan on the beach. Roan just held him tight, letting the sun pour on them and Smith just has never looked like he was going to melt into another person like he did with his big brother. I could have just pressed pause on my whole life and stayed there, forever.


And at the end of the day, there was a giant bath-tub party. You see, there were four babies born within one month of each other on my side of the family. I had two, my little sister had one, and my niece the other. Have you ever seen four 9-month-olds take a bath at the same time? I present the goodness:

Shockingly, none of them pooped...this time.

I could actually write all year about the two weeks we spent as a family, together. But there was one perfect night, that just ruled. Dinner had been eaten on a huge green lawn, followed by s’mores by the fire. Cousins played tag and lit fireworks and sparklers well into the dark part of the night. Aunts, uncles and grandparents told stories and jokes around a fire and we all looked up at the sky at the exact same time. A lightning storm rolled in and it was phenomenal. On all sides lightning lit us up, getting brighter and the thunder getting loud enough to spook a few kids (ummm…ok…and me…a little.) When we finally went to bed, Shep and Smitty were within eye and earshot in their pack’n’plays, and Roan’s mattress was on the floor to my right. Our room opened onto a big roof balcony and we had the doors swung wide open so we could watch the sky light up with the storm. Anson fell asleep quickly but again: I just wanted to press pause. I kept repeating the phrase “Everyone is safe” in my head,almost in wonderment. I thought about my big little family, all of us tucked in this room. We are all healthy and safe, and were tired only because of fun. I knew that this moment was one of those rare perfect moments we get in life. I tried to stay awake and feel it; I wanted to stay awake and watch the lightning, but I fell asleep as well.

I’m pretty sure we only get a few perfect moments in our lives – and I do feel like I grabbed more than a few on this vacation. Mine are always simple. That’s probably a lot of information about me – I am pretty simple. Coming home is a little more complicated though. I love my home my neighborhood and how easy it is to have my tiny masters sleeping in their own tiny cages. But I miss having family surrounding me. It is such a treat to have Roan running around on endless green land, playing tag with cousins and not letting me know where he is every minute. Every time we get home from vacation I get a case of the sads. I’m pretty sure it’s not unique to me, and it always resolves quickly. But it is the inevitable conclusion to the good Summer times – anyone else encounter this? What do you do to combat it? Go on another vacation? I’m thinking that’s the answer….keep the vacations coming. Until I figure out how to make that happen, give me your strategies. And enjoy one more hit of the babiness I was surrounded by:

Smith, Sheppard, Booker and Ella

9 thoughts on “Pause

  1. Wow! That’s a whole lotta cute babyness!
    This being the first day back from my brief but very enjoyable vacation myself, here’s my strategy….
    Take lots of moments to bask in how utterly relaxed I feel in my body.
    Take an equal amount of time appreciating those perfect moments I experienced.
    Breathe deeper and laugh more with my kids during the ordinary back to school moments that are upon us.

    That’s it. Maybe not a strategy, but rather gentle reminders of how to live in the flow.
    So glad that you had a magical time with your family! It makes me smile all over 🙂

  2. Oh My! How much did I love Roan riding that sheep! Awesome! I understand missing the green spaces, the family ease, the putting off of worry but I also have come to understand that I appreciate it more and take it for granted less simply because it is not my “normal”. Keep on savoring the moments as I know you do.

  3. Just hold on to those magical moments when you’re feeling blue. This summer has been CRAZY for me with a 2 yo and a 5 month old…some times have been really trying, especially for my husband and I -relationship-wise – but I fix the image of my son laughing on my husbands shoulders while they bob up and down in the lake in front of my eyes whenever I feel like I’m going to cry. Pure joy.

    Thanks for the stories and the smiles!

  4. Just hold on to those magical moments when you’re feeling blue. This summer has been CRAZY for me with a 2 yo and a 5 month old…some times have been really trying, especially for my husband and I -relationship-wise – but I fix the image of my son laughing on my husbands shoulders while they bob up and down in the lake in front of my eyes whenever I feel like I’m going to cry. Pure joy.

    Thanks for the stories and the smiles!

  5. I always have that feeling of melancholy when we come back from a vacation – and my life is very nice, so it isn’t as if I am returning to a horrible situation. The only thing that works for me is to try to have an extra day at home before returning to work, and to just focus on getting through the first day back at work, and not to expect too much.
    Love the babies in the tub picture….We have a similar photo of all my grandparents’ great-grandchildren crammed on a sofa taken Christmas Day 1989 From June of 86 through Nov of 89 there were 8 babies born – I think we calculate that for 8 years there was always at least one of us cousins pregnant at any given time. Crazy.

  6. Mutton Bustin’! Roan Rules! If they ride ’em any better in Texas, it’s only because they get more practice. The hard part is done…next time he’ll clamp down on that wool, and get 8 seconds no problem.

  7. I love it! How fun for Roan – I bet he will never forget that! Glad you guys had a great vacation! I feel the same way when we return from visiting my family! I always plan my next trip home before I leave – that way I have something to look forward to – even if it’s months away!

  8. Looks like you guys had a blast!

    Great post for me! I just got home with my two girls from our summer trip: 77 days, nearly 2,000 miles, never left Texas, 2 lost teeth (front and center!), one birthday, one wedding (not ours), lots of swimming and tons of fun. I call the days after returning home the hangover days. Getting readjusted, laundry, good memories, it just takes time.

    I missed keeping up this summer, good to be back with you! 😉

  9. I can tell this is definitely the first time I see 4 babies taking bath at the same time. They are so cute and look like puppies somehow! Beautiful pictures! At I read that vacation with family is the best one as it is very difficult to be in the same relationships and space for a very long time.

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