I am a happily married mama with three little ladies. I am a teacher, a poet, a playwright. I live on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and write babybythesea.net often, or at least when I'm not making espresso or sneaking chocolate.

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Time Together, from Santa

As I breastfed our babies for five collectively-awesome years, I never stopped dreaming of a night alone in a hotel. I wanted to pack for myself, and I didn’t want to set a breast pump atop Gideon’s Bible.

For Mother’s Day, my sweet hubby got me a gift certificate to a local hotel. He said, trashy celebrity magazines, mommy pals and relaxation are a must.

In Spring’s late start, Olive eased her way towards two, said goodbye to nursings and signed eat.  The gift certificate sat unopened. Schedules didn’t help it happen.  Strange, since it’s only two blocks away.

In my seven (and then some) ridiculously-awesome years as a parent, I covet adventure, memories and surprise.

On the island we call home, our Northwest corner has friends like family with extended family far, far away. Beside the stack of cards from each end of our county, I sat and wished we were having relatives stay over for the holiday. I worried it might seem like any other Sunday night.

Yes we have availiability, I’m quite sure you’re the only reservation, she said moments after my great idea set.

On Christmas Eve, my husband and I made a map. We wrote for the girls to pack an overnight bag with sleepy time lovies and to follow the clues at two o’clock.  We signed the letter Santa.


So, yeah. We secretly packed the car with swim supplies, Christmas dinner trimmings and the other six bags a family of five apparently needs to stay the night two blocks from home. The girls helped load up the double stroller for our windy, rainy 37 degree half mile walk.

Our night was so simple.

We played with the toys Santa brought.  We swam, we told stories in the sauna,

we splashed.  We ate Betty’s favorite meal of Meatloaf with white rice.

Lucy’s fever came back, so we tucked into bed and watched television.

Our oldest daughter Betty shared a bed with her baby sister Olive.  In matching pajamas, I looked over knitting needles and into a scene of sisterly love better than anything Santa could have delivered.

Betty sang a favorite Gillian Welch tune, Ms. Ohio, and whispered in her ear like we’ve done so many nights before.  She was so proud when Olive fell asleep.  Luke and I could have been hundreds of miles from home, instead of just one mile, in a far away tropical land for all the happieness that moment brought.

Sure, I get mad at my kids.  Sometimes I lock myself in a bathroom with headphones and an iPod for a few moments of lyrical peace.  I long for mama-pal only trips.  Sometimes I don’t even get outside, and instead hike around tissues and fever medicine. But it’s so worth it

This simple moment began in the magic of believing in Santa and ended somewhere between falling in love with adventure and making memories stick like candy canes in light blonde hair.

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Comments (2)

  1. Pingback: » Today’s Mama:::Time Together, From Santa Baby By The Sea

  2. Katie 12/31/2011 at 11:00 am

    This read like spun sugar, laced with magic.