Sunday, August 23, 2009

About the Day We Became Parents


"He is going to crack something with that." said Chup as we watch The Chief make his way into the living room with the little shovel used for the fireplace.

The advantage of being at home with my son all day long is getting to know his favorite things. The little shovel is high on The Chief's list. He holds it like the color guard in a marching band. Then, when he spots a piece of dried apple (or something) on the floor he lowers the golden apparatus and scoops it up with much gusto. I've seen this behavior day after day and I've never seen him crack anything. In fact, I find it helpful on the house cleaning.

Then without any warning, The Chief takes the treasured shovel, lifts it high in the air and smacks it squarely on the back of Chup's head.

Well, what have we here Law of Attraction? Chup's cracked head, that is what.

And so Chup is rolling around on the carpet in what appears to be horrific pain, while The Chief stands there, staunchly holding on to his shovel, looking really confused (Why is dad saying that word over and over?) and I am trying not to laugh.

Big problem in our marriage, every time Chup gets hurt I laugh/try not to laugh. Isn't that terrible? I can't even explain it, I just do. I laugh. Not if he is bleeding, only if he is wincing and growling.

He is wincing and growling.

So I trade The Chief, bubbles for his shovel. And after some head rubbing and bubble bursting the incident is forgotten. Still Chup and I have decided that the longest day of a parent's life is the day before family vacation. Which was today, for us.

Chup and I have arrived at some meaningful place where we've decided that three makes a genuine family. Before it was date night on the road (love date night on the road!) but now we're MOM and DAD and BABY and we're going on a bona fide FAMILY VACATION. Where we take a ROAD TRIP to the BEACH and DAD gets more agitated as he drives us across the desert, and MOM tries to entertain the BABY in the carseat with orange juice.

So tonight, after the Shovel Master was in bed, we started to make preparations for our first family vacation. I just packed the bag with the fun car activities and snacks. And as I did I thought to myself, "How did I just turn into my mother?" When I ran into Chup downstairs packing the cooler he asked the same thing, "When did we become parents who take family vacations?"

And I guess the answer is: tonight.

Because before it was all about having diapers, strollers (and golden shovels), but tonight it suddenly became about memories and experiences. About traditions and rituals. All the great trademarks of legitimate families. My dad always told me, "Family vacations are a key to family happiness" and we are about to discover this for ourselves. Somewhere between here and Southern California.

Wish us luck.