Back in the summer of 2010, shortly after my sister and her husband moved to Boston, Harper and I went to visit. She had just turned three, and turned out to be a most delightful travel companion. We had such fun that we decided it should be an annual tradition. However, Lynn and I were both very pregnant last August and couldn’t quite make it happen, so we’ve been looking forward to a repeat of this trip for, I don’t know, a long time.
Last time around, Harper was in a stroller and took naps while we walked around downtown Boston. This time around, we had two strollers, with two new babies, and Harper didn’t nap at all.
And oh, what a time we had. We walked to the playground, played in the backyard, went to the neighborhood pool. We watched the babies play, and eat, and sleep, and declared that yes, it is still funny to have two. (We also expressed our usual amazement at how people with twins do it). After dinner, two nights in a row, Harper got to go on special outings with Uncle Matt, out for ice cream one night, and the library the next.
We took the train downtown and visited the Boston Children’s Museum (at half-price, thanks to my sister’s mad library skills), where Harper was a sheep in a play, the babies crawled around in a specially designed play room, we all blew bubbles, Harper climbed two stories up in a net climbing structure that Lynn and I decided really should be big enough for adults, and had all kinds of other hands-on adventures.
It will surprise no one in my family that I started crying when it was time to leave on Wednesday morning. It did not help that I’m not sure when we will get to see each other again (I am holding out hope for a magical visit sometime this fall because I can hardly stand the thought that it might be Christmas). It also did not help that as we pulled out of the driveway, there was sweet Eliza on the front porch, being held by her Grandpa Richie (who had come over to babysit while Lynn took us to the airport; why, oh why, don’t three car seats fit in the back of a regular car?). I realized that I’ll never see her quite that way again. Next time we get together, she’ll be walking, and probably talking a little, and she won’t be that baby anymore.
At the airport, I teared up again, and Harper looked at me with concern. “I just get sad when I have to say goodbye to people I love,” I told her. “It’s okay to be sad,” she said. “But we get to go home and see Dad!” Good kid, that one.
On the flight home — which was nearly three hours late; thank goodness for the indoor playground in the Boston airport and the kind Delta representative who pointed it out to us after watching Harper climbing on top of a pay phone booth — they were worn out, and both of them fell fast asleep just as we took off. My two little monkeys, both of them managing to use me as a pillow. I felt very much like a mom right then — so different from my flight to Chicago a few weeks ago, by myself, on my way to a meeting, when I spent the flight editing page proofs of the book — in my traveling clothes with Cheerio crumbs stuck to my pants and drool on the shoulder of my shirt, two beautiful children depending on me to get them home safely. Harper, whose long legs practically touch the floor when she sits up straight, who is so nervous about the first day of kindergarten (and I know just exactly how she feels), who is such a very good big sister. Jonathan, who loves me better than anybody else in the world right now, whose sleeping face gives me just a peek into the boy he will be before I know it.
It’s good to be home, but we’re counting the days until next August.