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About Magnificence in the Mundane

Bringing humor to the many challenges of parenting, driving a gigantic SUV full of smelly boys and their friends, letting go of the idea of perfection and tackling middle age all serve as my inspiration. We all have common experiences, I just share my take on the absurdity of every... Read more

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Daily Grind of August: All I Ever Wanted (Credit the Go-Go’s)

Untitled design (8)Back in the day, I had kids crawling all over me by 7 am even on vacation. No matter what time I put them to bed. No matter what tactics I used to tire them out, they popped up with the sun.

And the more alcohol I had, the earlier they arose. It was science or karma or something.

At the time, I thought the notion of the sea air inducing sleep was just an old wives tale. Turns out it’s true alright, but apparently it only works on teenagers.

No matter what time they go to bed. No matter if they nap in the middle of the day. No matter how much noise I make.

They sleep F-O-R-E-V-E-R.

Initially, those first few morning hours were dreamy. It was so still I could almost hear the caffeine igniting my neurons with each sip. The dog and I sat on the balcony and watched the sun twinkle off the sea. Alone with my thoughts and the promise of a new day… HA who am I kidding? I was in the middle of a Folgers commercial and I was miserable.

I wanted my peeps.

Since the feeling was not mutual, I developed a routine that went like this:

10 am: Hit pool deck
10:10 am: Wonder how long I’ve been at pool
10:15 am: Turn on phone see if kids checked in
10:20 am: Readjust towel and scan pool deck for kids
10:30 am: Sigh because it’s only been 30 minutes and I’m bored
10:45 am: Begin stalking other families

Maybe it was because my kids were content without me. Maybe it was the heat. Maybe I am just pathetic but I was obsessed with all the babies and toddlers by the pool. Well not the mom and baby with matching suits and headbands; that lady was never gonna survive the teen years.

The funny thing about overtly adoring other people’s children? No one makes eye contact with you. Kids love a willing audience but the parents were prepping to hit the SEND button to activate an Amber Alert.

I had a few Tourette’s moments where I blurted out random mom facts to redeem myself and justify an intrusion into stranger’s vacations.

Yet, I sat there alone; a piranha in a tankini who may or may not be prompting calls to Security.

After years of being surgically attached to my children, getting sand out of crevices that never see the light of day and without the luxury of actually sitting for any length of time at the beach I think I had forgotten how to be alone.

Ironically, getting what you think you want is not as liberating as you thought it would be.

Being alone doesn’t have to be lonely but it was. In the midst of families grinding out vacations like Sherpa’s brimming with gear yet unsure they would survive the trek, I sat with a lone beach bag and memories.

Back in the day, all I wanted was a moment of peace. I envied the woman alone at the pool whose kids were old enough to fend for themselves. I’m sure I was too distracted to notice the way she watched my children wistfully from a distance. Or the way she lit up when those teens appeared, lanky enough to cast a shadow as they stood above her and inquired,

“Mom, what’s for lunch?”

As I gathered up my things to head up and start cooking, I thought this was finally starting to feel like vacation.

Maureen Stiles

About Maureen Stiles

Maureen is the author of the blog Magnificence in the Mundane. You can read her monthly column at The Town Courier.

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