This was my third Mother’s Day with Micah (outside my belly) and first with Ellis (outside my belly).
Last year, Kevin surprised me with a trip back home to LA, just me, myself and I (with Ellis in my belly, gender unknown) the week BEFORE Mother’s Day. My first time EVER separating from my baby (at 18 months old) and last hurrah before I became a mama of two (though I’d like to think of it as the first of many more to come, amen?)
This year, I asked for something very low-key. Just heaps of time together with the ones who made me a mama.
Perhaps because we ALWAYS spend heaps of time together and the man knows how much I enjoy (good) surprises (not like the time he let me go to my own Baby Sprinkle unshowered with the telltale unwashed hair / makeshift ponytail, thinking we were just headed to Costco), he had planned another.
So the night before Mother’s Day weekend, he reveals to me that we are headed to…
wait for it…
CoCo Key…(What!? I ask for low-KEY and he takin’ us to Coco KEY in the Caribbean?!)
I had told him to save money this year and not make Mother’s Day too crazy. He need not one-up himself every year. Too much pressure and too much coin.
CoCo Key, CONNECTICUT, not CocoKey / CocoCay, Bahamas.
On that gloomy, drizzling Saturday before Mother’s Day, he was whisking us away to CoCoKey Water Resort in Connecticut, like an indoor Raging Waters where it is 84 degrees all year long.
“Wait, what about the boys’ swimsuits? Dunno if Micah’s still fits and if Ellis even has one?”
“Already taken care of,” showing me a stuffed Gap bag.
I feel ashamed that after all his planning and surprising, my strongest reaction was, “Did you buy their swimsuits AT FULL PRICE!?” (But this is coming from someone who haggles at the dentist office). He had packed and planned marvelously, knowing how much his plant-like Californian wife needs water and sun.
The drive from our home was going to take up to two hours. We also had to stop to buy mama HER swimsuit because I had misplaced mine. I suspected my (jealous) friends who had been clowning my brown and white floral mumu for years now but there was no time to suspect and interrogate. We headed to the most obvious place one would score a last minute swimsuit.
Kevin warned me to just pop in while he kept the car running so that we can get to the water park in a timely fashion. Even without a shopping cart, I did not heed his warning. So, a cool, hip grandpa of three small children, who was also there to make a single purchase (a huge tv), had to give me a shopping cart ride back to our still-running Honda as I had picked up boxes of assorted nuts, Goldfish, and freeze-dried fruits for the kiddies.
(The shopping cart Gramps told me a joke while showing me pictures of his grandchildren on his iPhone.
“Why do grandparents get along so well with their grandchildren?”
I guessed the usual punchline, “Because they get to go home?”
“Nope. Because they have a common enemy.”)
By the time we arrived at CoCoKey, it was raining and even gloomier so I was extra excited to set foot onto the manmade “island.”
When I think back to my third Mother’s Day, I will replay images of Kevin and me going on waterslides in tag-team succession. While I climbed up the many stairs to get to the top of the adult waterslides, Kevin and the kids would watch me eagerly from the base of the slide, then cheer me on when I came flying down. Then, it would be Daddy’s turn while I clutched them against my wet bosom.
I have to confess that even still, I managed to feel pangs of “woe is me” when I saw other families with their grandparents, lending all-around helping hands so that the parents could go have a relaxing drink together or get on the waterslides without taking turns but I tried to shake it off, like the communal water beading on my body. A waterpark with an infant and toddler is not easy as we can never exhale, but how memorable was it to see my little morsels wide-eyed as they saw their mama plunk down into the water at the end of the slide? Their first waterpark experience, Ellis’ first outside-the-bathtub, water experience.
Daddy had lined up a whole host of other activities the next day, a whole lot of togetherness all over Queens and Brooklyn, just like I had asked for. Finally writing this in late June but the gratitude and memories are still fresh.