It's very hard to believe that at this very moment one week ago, I was sitting on a deck chair facing the Gulf of Mexico, watching my and assorted other children running happily amok on the beach. Or I may have been a few feet from the deck, curled up on a sandy but blissfully comfortable armchair, napping with a drowsy newborn on my chest.
Speaking of the newborn, people keep asking me how he did on vacation. The answer is: variable. He slept for most of the drive down, but screamed his tiny little head off when he was awake. For the first few days of the trip, he slept so much and so deeply that I was at risk of drawing the ire of every other parent there. He even slept on the beach under his little cabana while I tried to set the new world record for jellyfish stings. But then the next few days were so difficult that I pulled enough sympathy to reprise my role as Lazy Extra Wife, spending hours trying to get him to bed while everyone else cooked or cleaned up dinner. And yes, it was hard to sit inside with him while everyone else was out swimming and sunning, but sitting inside a beachfront condo sure as heck was more fun than sitting inside an overheated midtown house for a week.
I don't know if it was the limitations of the baby or just a general awareness of our group's overwhelming reproductive powers, but it struck me about halfway through the week that this was the first vacation I'd taken where I really felt like one of The Grown-Ups. We went on beach vacations with our neighbors when I was young, and over the last few years we've crashed my parents' timeshare in San Diego, and I always spent those trips feeling like I was just along for the ride - not really in control of what was happening, but also absolved of responsibility for how things went. But as I was sweeping up goldfish crackers and slathering unrelated children with sunblock, I realized that this was it, I was A Mom. Not just in my home, but full-time in the world. Which has its drawbacks (didn't eat a hot meal all week) and its perks (um, see Fig. C).
I can't fully detail everything that happened down there, for sentimental as well as legal reasons. It was one of those periods of time that you worry might be spoiled by talking about it too much. But what I can say is that we're going again. Next year if not before.
Postscript: Other accounts of this trip are here and here.