By the time I write your next letter, our lives will have changed dramatically. I can't help the fact that it is going to be a really hard transition for all of us, but I am going to do my derndest to make it a positive thing - for all of us.
This month has been another extremely busy one.
We've been rushing about trying to get ready for our departure, apartment hunting long distance, and trying to soak in as much time as possible with Nana, Papa, Kelly, Pepper, Cinnamon, and Jewels. Plus, Mama has been working full time for the last couple weeks, so it's been a busy time.
This month, Nana arranged for us all to take a big family vacation before we all move on, so you took your first long plane ride as a paying customer (you're two! my goodness! no more lap child on the plane!) as we headed out to Oregon, to visit Pat, Scott, and their critters and spend some time at their Ocean House.
I was relieved and worried by the idea of you having your own seat, but of course, you did just fine. You slept some, we played some, (the baby lions we gave you for your birthday were ideal travel toys, you delighted in playing with them during the long stretches in the car seat.) and generally made it seem like no big deal.
You loved the whole trip. You really enjoyed having Kelly's friend Chelsea along, you love Billy and Oscar, their two lively and lovable dogs, and Roscoe and Maybell, the cats, you loved the beach, and being in the Ocean House (which you said frequently, to no end of cuteness "I go ocean house now, mama?") and SEA LIONS!
There are some big rocks off the coast near the house which are home to many many sea lions, and we went a few times to the top of the hill, to a cliff where you can see them -and, if you listen, you can hear them vocalizing.
Girl, you LOVED those sea lions! You talked about them constantly! You wanted to see them all the time! Papa ended up downloading a picture of a mama and baby sea lion so that you could look at them even when we were in the house, because otherwise you would just be begging people to take you back to see the sea lions again. And some of us wanted to eat, sleep, and generally do things that did not involve standing in the sun on a cliff listening to sea lions groaning. But, I admit, it was VERY cool, and I'm extremely happy that you liked it so much.
We also zipped over to bend for a couple days, to visit Sandy, Al, Ben, Sam, and their dog winter. They have a pool there, and you got to take your new water wings for a spin...they gave you just enough of a lift that combined with what you already knew about swimming, you were able to SWIM ON YOUR OWN! With no one touching you! It was amazing! And you loved it!
And so did everyone there. You also got to go to a music festival while we were there, and you made friends with a couple other little girls, and you three spent a lot of time playing ring around the rosy, and dancing and singing. All in all, the entire trip seemed to be an incredible experience for you, and you lapped it up.
On the last day that we were there, we also got a really, REALLY special treat, something that I never expected to experience, and I doubt many 2 year olds have had the chance to do. Pat brought us to Netarts Bay, and we broke out the sea kayaks.
You got to ride in a kayak with mama and baba, with kelly and papa rowing their own boats along side us. Together, we all went out into the bay and paddled around for a while, which was totally awesome on its own, but the main event came when we paddled past a pod of seals.
They all dove into the water at once, and surrounded us, watching. We stopped paddling and just let ourselves float, and they floated with us, and I guess sensing that we weren't a threat, began to move closer until eventually they were swimming under the boats. One surfaced and took a good look no more than three feet from us! It was amazingly beautiful, totally eerie, very peaceful and quietly exciting all at once.
And then you declared that you were a Silkie. Guess I should have figured. My little irish babe.
Since we got home, you've been pulling blankets, towels, anything you have around your waste like a kayak skirt and played 'going boating'. You paddle the way we showed you that day and most of the time you come across some pretty seals. It's very exciting to watch.
The trip to Oregon was a wonderful last hurrah before we embark on the next journey; returning to New York City, and moving forward in our lives as Baba starts law school.
The thing that I most appreciated about the trip was how familiar it felt to me - the people we saw, the things we did, from the mandatory kickball game after dinner in Bend to the adventures we had at the beach, to the conversations that happened between events - when I think of my own childhood, that's what I think of.
It isn't the trouble our family went through later on, it isn't the scary events like my mom's surgical accident; all of that is there, but the predominant feeling I get when I think of that time is this sense of comfort among friends, with some good discussions, good food, inclusion, adventure...this trip didn't feel like nostalgia, it was the genuine article, and I am so grateful that I was able to share that with you and Baba in an unadulterated form.
I wonder what you are going to take away from your time here with us, little bug. I don't know how much, if any, of what we're experiencing now will remain in your conscious memory years from now, but I can see the tangible difference each new experience is making on you, moment by moment.
There is so much good here to remember, to hold on to...but even if you don't remember any of it, it will always be a part of you, in that deep, inexplicable way that experiences penetrate our very being. Whether or not you specifically recall the time we spent living with Nana, Papa, and Kelly, they have touched your life in a deep and meaningful way, that will never truly leave you.
Whether or not you recall, 15 years from now, your very first friends, your amazingly awesome friends - and I hope you do, because they are all worth keeping in touch with - they have been a wonderful influence on your life. You know you had about 25 people at your birthday party?? and everyone had a great time. You're a lucky lady, my dear, and what's more is that you deserve every bit of it.
I know that you are going to miss having a yard, your own spaces to roam, the critters, the family, the friends, the pumpkin muffins, the souffles, the parks, the horses, the birds, the rides in the car, the lack of crowds, the VHS movies, the record player, the drums, weeding the garden, the laid back attitude of everyday life...the list goes on. But I hope that it can be a sweet memory for you, but one that is good to have next to your life in the city.
A city with rich cultural life to offer, new friends, interesting sounds and sights, museums and concerts, the chance to reacquaint yourself with Baba's side of the family, and the rich experiences that will come with Baba's new career, and I hope to be able to share my work with you...that list goes on too, though sitting here right now it's somewhat easier to think of what we're giving up than what we'll be gaining, and it is harder to get a tangible idea of what it will mean to raise you in the city now that we know you to be such an outdoorsy kid. But I am confident that this will be the best thing for our family in the long run, and we WILL find a way to make it work, for you, for ourselves as individuals, for our family.
You've grown so much this month, and I feel like this letter just doesn't do it justice; alas, time is short, and we have a lot on our plates these days, so I will have to be satisfied, and hope to catch up sometime in the future. Does that sound like wishful thinking? perhaps, just a little.
I love you, little bug.