Everyone’s had those weeks – the ones where you start out optimistic and positive and end dark and stormy. That’s the week we’ve had. In my 20s I was big on the pity party. You know – grab a bottle, grab a buddy, get shitty and moan about your life. In my 30s I realized acting like a complete hot mess in public wasn’t allowed so I usually hibernated at home with a bottle and a movie or a book. I’m 40ish and have 2 little kids, no time for a pity party. So, rather than be angry mommy I asked my hubby and sister-in-law to head to the ocean with me. A change of scenery always changes your perspective. So let’s run away from home!
My sister-in-law, Candice loves running away from home. She has a very heavy strain of wanderlust in her personality. Anytime she doesn’t like her life situation she changes it. Sounds logical. I’ve known her since she was 19 and I attribute her constant state of wanderlust to her childhood. She was raised by very traditional 1950’s style parents in a very middle-class suburb of Chicago filled with blue collar workers who did well for themselves. Her mother was raised by a Chinese immigrant (her dad) and an Irish Catholic (her mom). So, Candice was raised by a woman who believes men are the head of the household and women should always be in the kitchen or cleaning the home. Candice has rejected all of these beliefs. Reject may not even be a strong enough word – she is at war with these stereotypes on a daily basis. If any man dares tell her to do something – she is coming out swinging. She’s our little swing.
Lil Swing is a blast to be around. If I’m pissed at Big Swing (happens on a weekly basis) I can vent to her and she gets it. When you want to have a good time, she’s your best wingman. Lil Swing can be volatile. There have been years where we didn’t speak because Lil Swing was mad we didn’t support her life choices – we could’ve done a better job during this period. Lil Swing isn’t into criticism (neither is the Big Swing), and they learned that from Big Babba (their momma). God forbid you criticize anything Big Babba does or says – get your ear plugs and be ready for a tongue lashing!
Lil Swing at her core is a family person who just wants to be accepted for who she is. After all, don’t we all!
So she is the perfect run-away partner, she gets that the first rule of running away is you don’t talk about why you are running! Don’t you just hate it when you run away and your damn wingman wants to talk it out?! Worst. Of course if the runner wants to talk, well – then you just listen and seem interested. She’s good at that too. So – she’s the whole package for running. In fact, she’s got a bug out bag in her own car! What a bug-out-bag? Well, it’s a cool name for a suitcase filled with run-away clothes and tools. Ok, maybe it’s more than that, but that’s what I got.
So this weekend we ran away with everyone. The kids, the hubby, and Candice. We went to the ocean, because I have always felt more peaceful and optimistic when at the ocean – don’t know why just have. We drove from our home in Vermont to North Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. It’s New England’s Coney Island. There are bars, arcades, food shacks, and everything faces the ocean. The beach is nice and in the summer it is filled with bikini clad women of various sizes and ages, children scampering hither and tither, and men checking out the women and nursing various hang-overs. But this weekend it’s pretty empty, which is exactly what I want. We hit the arcade first because the kids are cold and they need some entertainment other than the waves. After Big Swing wins an obscene amount of tickets and 1,000 presents for our little girl (aka daddy’s little girl), we go find food. The dining in North Hampton consists of seafood and bar food (wings, burgers, chicken fingers) when in Rome… We eat at one of the places facing the ocean where you can sit inside since it is around 55 today. We order the fried seafood platter because that’s what you eat when you are at the beach – I mean who doesn’t want to eat fried food all day while in a bikini, right. We also get the lobster roll, Big Swing’s favorite, and Kraft Mac&Cheese for the kids. It was exactly what we wanted. Then we headed to the beach. The little man and I sat on the sand and dug around while watching the waves. Our daughter and Candice ran around the beach and chased waves, I think those two are very alike. They were cold and wet at the end but happy. It was a successful day, and all in all I was feeling better about life.
Then Big Swing, as he is prone to do, decides let’s make this a whole weekend! Big Swing’s psychology is – More is More. So we were all good sports and said – sure. I’ve been with Big Swing for 15 years so I packed extra clothes for the kids, and stupidly packed nothing extra for myself. Oh well, been there….
We drove up the coast next, and the kids napped. It was peaceful and beautiful. Then I got us lost (twice)…
Ah well the force was not strong with me, and basically every time I said turn left we should’ve turned right – Big Swing hates getting lost or having to back track. His mood will go from joyful to pissy in 60 seconds if he makes a wrong turn. Good thing I had my run-away buddy Candice with me! She and I were laughing it up because, what else can you do?! We did in fact make it to our next destination, Ogunquit, Maine and we grabbed a fabulous apartment for the night. The kids were awake by this point and so we hit a place Big Swing and I went to before we had kids. Last time we were in Ogunquit we were running away from life, and found it to be just what we needed. At that point we were depressed because we didn’t have any kids (trouble getting pregnant). This weekend we were running away because we had been pregnant and just had a miscarriage. There is some symmetry there, but being there this time made we realize how lucky we are and how far we’ve come. We have two great kids. We have a farm we are going to drag into profitability and we have a great life where our kids come to work and our family is all around us. Ogunquit was a good call!
That night I wanted to go to this place we ate at all those years ago, and so we went. It wasn’t that good. So, one thing I realize now is if its off-season all these little places along the shore that are kitschy in season are just run down dives off-season. I know, dives are “in” right now. But this one didn’t have that many redeemable qualities – except the one major one – it is on the beach. We had a nice-ish meal and the kids and I went back to get settled in for the night. It was the perfect day, all in all.
The next day we drove around and had a lovely morning walking along the rocky shore, shopping in beautiful downtown Ogunquit, and meandering back home. For lunch we ate at the best place we stopped at during the whole trip, It is Hurricane Restaurant in Kennebunkport, ME. The kids were in good spirits so even though this was a fancier place we decided we’d risk it – after all if you don’t take them they will never know how to act, right?! The seafood towers was phenomenal. The oysters tasted like they were pulled from their sandy beds just for us. The lobster was tender and buttery. The shrimp were large and divine. The kids were good (whew! all thanks to the help of a mini Tabasco bottle for the shellfish they were enamored by, pretending to cook and season their food as the adults did). The wine was perfectly chilled.
I am so glad we ran away from home, and I realized my home (my hubby, my kids, Candice) wasn’t what I was running from afterall.