“Vacation”

Five years ago, I called one of my best friends and invited her to go to the beach for the weekend to do the things twenty-somethings do at the beach.
Five weeks ago, I called Mandy and again invited her to hit the coast … only this time, I’d have my child, my sister and my 2-year-old nephew with me.
This weekend started off the exact same way every other beach weekend began– we found a local pub and ordered dinner.
That was literally the only similarity I could find between this beach trip and the others we have taken together.
Five years ago, conversations with nearby tables were colorful, wine-laced musings that resulted in innocent flirtations.
This weekend, it was apology after apology for the boys crawling under strangers’ feet or acting as roadblocks for busy servers. The kids literally did not sit down for one second.
The night ended with a wide-eyed Mandy handing me her napkin as blood poured from Monster’s lip, the result of “How does a lizard walk?” gone bad.
The next morning, I tried to make up for the chaos by inviting her to go for a run on the beach. Nothing better than taking in the waves while exercising with a friend.
Except when you’re too pregnant to keep up with her.
“Go ahead,” I said to Mandy five waddling steps into our run. I watched as she easily glided ahead of me, widening the gap between the carefree, childless days of my past and the obvious (delightful!) weight of the present.
When I finally steered my truck-sized body into the finish line, she was already cooled down, thrilled to have gotten in some exercise. (Or so she said. I think she was mostly excited to be away from the maniacs at the condo.)
The calm didn’t last long, as the rest of the weekend consisted of fantastic tantrums, including a whopper in a coffee shop in Charleston.
She couldn’t even escape the madness at night.
Monster has been waking around 3 a.m. and coming into our bedroom for the last month. No biggie – he falls asleep right away and is a calm sleeper.
However, this weekend we were staying in a one-bedroom condo, with my sister, the boys and I in the bedroom and Mandy on the convertible couch.
So when Monster awoke at 3 a.m. and demanded a change in scenery, guess where he wanted to go?
Honestly, what choice did I have? He could scream in the bedroom and wake the other toddler, or we could fall asleep quickly and calmly on the makeshift bed next to a snoozing Mandy. I went with the path of least resistance.
She swore it was no problem and that she slept through it. However, on our last night there, I rolled over to see Monster had curled up right next to her, breathing his hot, stinky baby breath in her face and succumbing to a wicked case of jimmy legs.
As she carried her suitcase out the door the next morning, I recalled beach trips past, where we’d lie on the sand, drink beer and make decisions about our futures. Within two weeks of our last trip, she and I both quit the jobs we were in and changed careers.
I have a feeling she may have made some decisions about her future this time around, too. As always, I’m happy to serve a purpose, even if it is birth control.

They really walked like this all weekend.

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