Posted by: Wayne | July 14, 2010

There and Back Again

Home again, home again jiggity jig. We had a bit of boatbuilding hiatus for the last week. The Chief Photographer and assorted Sweet Young Things went down to Virginia for a week to see family members while the Boatbuilder continued to work, paid bills and replaced our oven that went on the fritz the first night out.

The week was memorable for Patrick, Elaina and Gabriel. At the Maritime Museum in Newport News, we saw boats. There were historical boats, model boats, walk-on boats, boats in cleaning and preserving solution, boats under glass, boats with truffles and a lovely white wine sauce, etc. Lots of boats. I (Maria) was rather interested in the historical small craft, as well as the history behind the ironclads. We looked at navigational equipment, viewed the actual turret for the USS Monitor, and saw some figureheads. I was hoping to get inspiration for something for our own small craft. I didn’t see anything that fit, though.

I think the eagle would make us a little bow-heavy.

If you ask the kids what we did, they will tell you we pushed buttons that made model engines move. Of all the things we saw, pushing buttons stuck with them the most. Go figure.

Speaking of pushing buttons, they perfectly pushed mine on Friday, as everyone adjusted to the new locale. With everyone up before 7 and fractious, coupled with a nursing baby who wouldn’t nurse, I was tempted to cut vacation short– very short. Gabriel screamed himself to sleep at dinner and Patrick and Elaina were bouncing themselves off walls, each other and assorted adults. My nerves were frayed, so I sent the children outside to run in the street. (Yes, proof that mother is tired: “Go play in traffic, dear children!” But I still loved them a little; they were only supposed to run in the gutter.) The walk did us all good. I saw plants that I never saw outside of books or a conservatory: Indian Paintbrushes in scarlet and yellow, and two palm trees growing in someone’s front yard. I forgot to bring the camera, though, so I simply have a mental image to go by. The kids expended energy running from one mailbox to the next, single file in the gutter. A mile later, we were done. Moods improved, mine especially, and the next day was better. It even involved another run in the street, to the local park. See all the smiles– those were from the next day!


The Boy loves to swing

The Girl also loves to swing

Mass on Sunday was a  visual treat. St. Paul’s Church in Portsmouth was everything a lovely old church should be. Stained glass windows, a high altar, Corinthian columns and vaulted arches, pipe organ music and choir.

The High Altar and mysteries of the rosary murals behind it

This is one of three St. Patrick windows. Why, yes, the parish was settled by Irish immigrants. How did you guess?

Mary's Window

Stained Glass and Vaulted Arches: Good Church Architecture lifts even the eyes and mind to God.

Dad, we thought of you.

And the children behaved like angels– the good ones, to boot! Gabriel fell asleep on my shoulder without screaming and Patrick and Elaina looked at holy cards quietly when they weren’t paying attention. No one hit or bit anyone else or thumped on a pew or went exploring to the other end of the church unaccompanied or loudly asked to eat at inopportune times. I actually heard the sermon and remained in the same building, nay, even the same pew, the entire Mass. In fact, I only had to offer a candy-bribe once for maintaining good behavior. (Thank God for Reece’s Pieces.) It was a time of refreshment and renewal. I needed that.

There were more days at the park,

O Frabjous Day!

a day going to thrift stores and finding inexpensive Ravensburger puzzles,

Ravensburger Puzzles were a full afternoon of excitement: $3.00 well spent

and days of lovely conversations with my sister-in-law-who-shall-remain-nameless and a long chance to see the nieces and nephew.

The last day, we went to the ocean; the great, glorious ocean that I hadn’t seen in about 15 years!

The kids were excited to go. My excitement roused their own, and they talked about it for two weeks straight. They were excited right up to the point of actually getting into the water. Then they saw the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and their courage died within them. Patrick held tightly to my hand,  got his toes wet, but then felt the pull of the receding surf and panicked. Elaina saw the wave coming, and panicked without getting wet.

Run away, Run away! It's the Terror from the Deep!

Gabriel just panicked.

Keep the water down there, me up here and everything will be fine.

And so we made sand castles

"It's like a giant sandbox, Mom!"

Build them up, knock them down, build them up again.

and buried our toes,

and I stood in the surf with whomever would hold my hand.

Patrick eventually screwed up his courage to the sticking point and waded out into the water solo. He was thrilled. I also looked at the people playing in chest-deep water, and said, “Another year I can go out there, also.” For now, I’m content watching my little ones enjoy the sand and water in the shallow end. There is time enough later for going into the deep.

The ride home was a fast one. I missed my husband. I missed my own bed and home. I missed the normalcy of normal life. We left at 4 AM and ran hot. Nine hours, two bathroom stops and one wrong turn later, we were home.

Now it’s back to ordinary time… and boatbuilding.

Edited for factual typos: 7/16/10.


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